Thursday, April 05, 2007

The scent of spring

You could taste it in the air this morning. That distinct smell of spring, that change in the air. It is the cottonwoods budding, which they seemed to do overnight. It is a big memory trigger for me. I am always a bit surprised by it living here on the coast. Back home in the interior, I associate that smell with the Victoria Day Weekend and the May Day Celebrations in Kaslo, BC. Only it seems so early since it is only the beginning of April. Well, we're usually about a month or so ahead of the interior anyway.

Isn't it always funny how smells trigger memories? That smell reminds me of:
  • May pole dancing (The longest running Maypole dance in Canada)
  • the parade that goes around twice
  • logger sports
  • three-legged and egg and spoon races
  • merry-go-rounds
  • cotton candy
  • the oily brown canvas of the vendor/event tents
  • bonfires on the beach
  • pancake breakfasts at the Legion
  • tea and bake Sales at the United Church or the Scout hall; entering a raffle for a doily or an afgan or cinnamon buns
  • playing clarinet in the school band with Mr. Fisher
  • running in the May Queen pagent
  • the Hawthorne tree in bloom
  • Dad tilling the garden on his tractor
  • the smell of the cedar trees
  • picking the sticky little cottonwood husks off my shoes
I also think of Lilacs and specifically, our next door neighbours the Nelson's overgrown Lilac tree in their front yard. Oh how I used to wish I could to go hide inside it and disappear for a while! I can hear Lardeau Jack McDonald Creek which flows through my parents property, running full force over the grizzly Dad built, swollen with water from the spring run off. I can picture Dad, handing over the first stems of rhubarb to Mum, begging for her to "Please make me a Rhubarb Meringue Pie. I would just love a piece of Rhubarb Meringue Pie." I know, I know no one has ever heard of a Rhubarb MERINGUE pie so here it is:

Rhubarb Meringue Pie:
Bake this in a 375° oven

1 - 9" unbaked pastry shell

3 cups diced, fresh rhubarb
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup, scant flour
1 TBS melted margarine

Beat egg yolks until frothy, add sugar, flour and melted butter. Combine this with the diced rhubarb. Pile mixture onto unbaked pie shell and bake at 375° for 30 minutes.

Whilst this is baking, make meringue of 3 egg whites slowly adding sugar and cream of tartar. Remove pie from oven onto cooling rack and carefully and quickly spread meringue over top of pie.

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

2 TBS sugar

Return pie to oven and bake until meringue is slightly browned and cooked, approximately 10 minutes.


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