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Lightly floral, like an afternoon in spring

My little girl, Ivy, just started eating solid food. As someone whose life is so intertwined with food this is a big deal for me. Watching my baby’s face light up as she sees me approaching with a little pink spoon in hand makes me happy. Her sausage-like fingers pull the spoon in closer trying to get the sweet taste of a perfectly ripe banana in her mouth quicker. While most of the contents of the spoon end up either covering her chubby cheeks or on the bib, she joyfully gums what does manage to stay in her mouth.
As she is experiencing her first taste of solid food I can’t help but think of all the thousands of meals I will share with her, Lord willing. Will she like the sweet, earthy taste of beets as much as I do or will she think they “taste like dirt” as her dad thinks? Will Ivy meticulously pick out her onions like her big brother Baron? Will the kitchen be a place of joy and creativity for Ivy as it is for me?

I do know that my little girl is more fond of bananas and oatmeal than she is of pears. Her nose scrunches at the taste of the sweet fruit. My little princess tries feverishly to arch and bend to get as far away from the spoon as possible. I, on the other hand, recently discovered how much I love pears in sauce form. Much like applesauce, pear sauce is as comforting as a mother’s embrace. It’s sweet and slightly tart flavor fills in for dessert in a much lighter way than a chocolate cake would, yet completely satisfying. Left slightly chunky and made with little more than a sip of water, pear sauce is as complex as the pear itself—lightly floral, like an afternoon in spring.

A simple sauce of smashed pears and apples is a sweet ending of winter. It’s a goodbye for now, until we meet again in the fall. As with most good endings, it’s the start of a new beginning. As we send off apples and pears we have the soft whisper of hope that spring will soon be upon us and all the nearly forgotten tastes of that season. For now it’s an endearing goodbye said with a tangy sauce, that my daughter insists I can enjoy alone.

by Ashley Rodriquez
Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com

Apple Pear Sauce Recipe

6 sweet tart apples, like Jonathan, or Jonah Golds, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
5 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter

In a large pot, add the apples and pears. Scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean, and add both the seeds and the pod to the fruit. Pour in the water, and add the butter. Place over high heat, and bring to a boil. When brought to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes. After time has passed, fruit should begin to fall apart and soften. If need, with a large fork, or potato masher, break down any remaining cooked pieces of fruit. Sauce will be slightly chunky, with only a little bit of liquid remaining. If sauce has too much liquid for your tastes, turn up the heat, and cook out some of the water. Discard vanilla bean pod, and enjoy.

Image and recipe from nosheteria.com