The air conditioner is humming, to itself and to me, a grand song of-
Shit. There's twenty pounds of wild crabapples in the dining room, and it took me an hour to clean an eighth of them. Poor omen, eh?
Green, yellow, with sun-dappled rosy cheeks, the crabs were collected from three trees that have grown in a field in New York State's Catskill Massif. These three trees, in thirty minutes brisk collecting, yielded the aforementioned twenty pounds - actually, more like two branches from each of the six trees yielded that.
My intention is to clean, crush, press and sicerify (that means to faire la cidre) these wild Catskill fruits, and to write about it in this weblog.
Of all the industrial food products, the fermented alcoholic ones are the ones most straitened and joyless. Wait, that's not right - you drink it and they make lots of joy: the Goldschlager jello-shots slurped from the cleavage of a TriDelt in midwinter; the 87 cans of Milwaukee's Best in the alley between your study window and the Roach Motel after the strike-delayed Stanley Cup; the Drambuie that got in your last pair of clean underpants, up above Hodge Pond on Tisha B'Av, the night you thought to delve the Hymenated Hot Bi Babe with the Pole of Hebraic Law. Stupid jam jar.
So industrial alcohol definitely can have its place in the pleasure rituals of other people. And sometimes I am like other people, and can really go for a great Guinness, or that Pedro Ximenez superport, or gin gimlets in the East Village.
But the problem is that I didn't make any of that stuff. I just bought it at ridiculous markup. And I like to think of myself as a creator, a fount, a maker, and not some infinite-appetite sea-squirt of a consumer.
Also, the first time I tried to make cider, it was during a period in my life, about ten years ago, when I suffered the most exquisite poverty, and couldn't afford to buy the French apple cider of which I had grown very fond, and I made a proposal to The Best Man.