We have a small farmer's market in town every other Saturday -- only about seven vendors, one of whom just sells garlic. But last week when we came across a produce vendor selling, among other things, a single carton of gooseberries, this ran through my head:
I'd never seen a gooseberry. I'd never eaten a gooseberry. I'd never heard of a gooseberry except in the context of Snow White. When I was a small child, I watched this scene and a connection forged in my mind: If you feed people, they will love you.
This is the key to acceptance, I thought as I stared at the gooseberries. I've searched for this all my life, and here it is just waiting for me at this humble farmer's market.
"WE'LL TAKE THEM ALL," I said, and spirited them away back home.
If you've never seen a gooseberry before, it looks like the fish version of a grape, in that you can see all of its veins:
I don't have any funny stories about the actual baking of the pie. It went pretty smoothly, especially since I broke down and started making pie crusts in the food processor. I bet Ms. White would have too, if she'd had the option. Although she did have the the help of her little woodland friends. Time-saving, but SO UNSANITARY.
(...If you think I didn't sing that song over and over in the same tremulous falsetto while assembling the pie, then YOU ARE MISTAKEN.)
You cook the berries like cranberries with a whole bunch of sugar until they pop and you are left with this lovely pink and green mush. It's not quite millennial pink, but it's pretty close.
Now, before I show you how the pie ended up, I should tell you that I practice what I like to call Make-Do Cookery. Under this system, when you don't have a pie tin like you thought you did, you use a cake pan. And when the filling leaks, you say OH WELL and slurp it up with a straw. And when you remember that you don't have any photography skills and realize that now the combined forces of Bakers and Photographers of the Internet will descend upon you with double shaming for the poor lighting and the terrible image resolution and the cake pan, you shrug and put the picture up anyway.
To play gooseberry is an old-timey term for a third wheel, usually an older, unwanted, and presumably sour-faced chaperone. But dudes, I don't think that expression applies here, because GOOSEBERRY PIE IS SO DANG GOOD. I would happily take it on any date. I would take it AS my date, and let Bill be the third wheel. The gooseberries are intensely tart, but the sugar makes the filling taste like sour candy. Candy pie. In fact, I don't even think the crust is necessary. Next time I get my grubby little paws on a carton of gooseberries, I'm just gonna cook 'em up and eat them with a spoon.
We're looking into growing gooseberry plants in our garden next year. Hopefully no geese come along and snatch them right off the vine (bush? tree? Do they grow underground like tubers?). When they're ripe you must all come over -- once I buy a real pie tin -- and I shall feed you gooseberry pie.
"Hooray!" you will say. "She stays!"
And then you will love me. At last.
UPDATE: JUST FOUND OUT YOU CAN GROW RAINBOW-COLORED GOOSEBERRIES SO I GUESS THAT'S OUR ENTIRE BACKYARD ACCOUNTED FOR