My mom is big. I am big. We have big personalities, big bodies, and big laughs. Minimalism isn’t in our vocabulary. Because of this, everything she cooks is pushed to the extreme - she adds as much spice as she can imagine. I have never used a salt shaker at my mother’s table. But baking? Baking requires precision and control, rendering her attempts disastrous.
My mom is famous for her gargantuan caramel apples. This year, she let me help make them. The apples themselves are roughly the size of an overripe grapefruit, which are stabbed in the core with an industrial stake and dipped in hot caramel. I watch as she rims the apple around the bowl, letting the caramel provide a thick, sticky blanket across the huge fruit. The newly cloaked apple is then pressed into sugar - to prevent the hot caramel from bonding to the pan. She then lets these softballs cool. Once cool, she dips them in milk chocolate using the same blanketing technique until layers .
I dip a few apples, but mostly I hand her the freshly stabbed apples and watch her concentration. Her flow. She then places our favorite candy bars into a ziplock bag, and smashes them to pieces with the oldest rolling pin we own. Mom heaps this broken candy onto the hot apples, like how God heaps snow on our mountains. Soon the apples become so heavy with candy that all the chocolate and caramel coating is brought down with the Oreo and toffee pieces - pooling at the base of the apples. And yet, she adds more. White chocolate is drizzled over the defrosting apples, but it comes out thick and clumpy. The caramel apples look like the spawns of Gloopy from Candyland.
But I know, and I think mom does as well, that come tonight we will all be eating and picking at her deformed baking catastrophe. She will continue to have fun, regardless of how she is perceived. Contrary what I would've said in High School, I think it's a good way to live.