Quince paste cube 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

11.28.11 The Original Apple

When I was growing up, every 7 years my family lived in Spain. My father was a professor of Spanish literature, and he spent his sabbaticals doing research, writing and collecting the Sephardic ballads that were his specialty. The year I turned 15 there, my sisters (5 and 7 years older than I) were already out of the house, so I was  essentially an only child. I went everywhere with my parents, which meant a very diverse cultural life (opera, theater, dance, symphony, museums, galleries), lots of meals out and visits to some very fancy Madrid residences. Perhaps because we were in Europe—or maybe it had something to do with the almost exclusively adult company—the rules relaxed a bit and I was often allowed a glass of sherry, cointreau or vino tinto. This set the stage for expanding my appetite, too, and I tried many unknown delicacies: octopus, white asparagus, kidneys, membrillo. The latter was a deep-amber-colored jelly that was often brought out with the cheese course (another novelty), a sticky, sweet confection to pair with the rich oily Manchego. At the time, I had never seen a quince, and it's a bit of a leap anyway from that fuzzy, essentially inedible fruit to this jammy nectar of the gods.
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