Crisp & golden as an apple.

Reema’s mom had fretted and scowled at her dish claiming it was “still not right”

“I don’t care if it’s not right,” I whispered. “That is the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.”

“I think it’s what angels must eat in heaven,” Reema agreed, digging into the apple pie.

When I was younger, if I was ever still hungry apples for dessert was my remedy. From a mix of reds and yellow with a hint of gold, I would always lean in for the green apples. In my kingdom, the color of the apple mattered. I was never one to pick the red apple or the yellow ones with the creepy black dots. Nevertheless, I always wondered if the perfect hybrid endured.

My friend Reema was obsessed with apple pie and I couldn’t understand why. A pie should be savory like “cheese & onion” or “chicken & mushroom”. I was incredulous and wasn’t keen on tasting her mom’s first attempt to whip up a saccharine pie for us. Apples in a dessert seemed wrong but I wasn’t keen to voice my opinions. Reema was excited and had only heard about in faint whispers from the endless movies she patrolled. When I entered her house, the aroma of baked apples in maple and cinnamon butter engulfed me. Reema gave me a smug look & we waited eagerly to taste it.

I hope you can identify with that feeling when you taste a perfect dish and your mouth is filled with cream and crisply imploding pastry. When you closed your eyes to better enjoy the textures and flavors, and satisfied sighs sneak out. Well, this was the sensation. I vividly recall some of the key ingredients her mom had lined up with perfect precision on the scratched countertop. It was apples, puff pastry, and butter.

I have never tried to recreate her dessert but I remember this childhood experience. No one has ever made a homemade apple pie for me since. Yet, the memory is nestled inside my brain, where a half dozen perfect little homemade dishes are similarly etched.

Having eaten “Apple strudel in Germany” and farm-fresh”Apple pie” in Boston. I am yet to taste anything better than R’s mom’s home-baked apple pie.

Happiness is indeed homemade.

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