Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's All in the Name

This weekend I made applesauce.  But I overspiced it a bit, and so I decided maybe the best way to salvage it was to make fruit leather.  So I poured the applesauce onto parchment paper and filled most of my dehydrator, using the extra space for some nuts I had been soaking.

To my disappointment, when I opened up my dehydrator and tried to roll up my leather in the paper, it crackled and snapped into pieces.  I had poured it too thin!  Or dehydrated it too long.  Or both.  It was my first fruit leather disaster.

But it still tasted good!  Once it was in your mouth you could fold it in half with your tongue as it softened, and it would dissolve like autumn.  What had been too much spice for the applesauce (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves), was perfect in my ruined fruit leather.

Or was it ruined?  I decided all it needed was a new name: Apple Spice Paper.

Really, we are only ever disappointed when we expected something different than we got, based on the name.  So just change the name!  I remember a post by Amy Thompson wherein she messed up a popsicle recipe on television --- it was supposed to be a green "frog eggs" popsicle, with chia seeds for the eggs, but it somehow turned out brown.  So she renamed it "frog eggs in mud" on the spot.  What would you expect from a popsicle by that name?  Probably something brown.  Voila.  Zero disappointment.

We do this all the time.  A botched audition that you once labeled "the chance of a lifetime" suddenly gets a new name: "a good experience."  A knitting project that was supposed to be  a winter scarf is now a matching set of potholders.  We rename things to save face, but it's not just a practice in vanity.  By renaming something we are changing it in an essential way --- we give it a new life, a second chance.  It is a practice in generosity, in openness, in forgiveness.

And apple spice paper is my new favorite treat.


  1. Could you please bring some apple spice paper to visit this weekend? And a few pineapple core chips, too, if there are any left.

  2. Meredith, I love your mind! Nice food tip, and life tip. Thanks!

  3. "Meredith, you have preached and I have received, and we all have been edified and rejoice together".
    D&C 50:22

    I loved tasting your apple spice paper!