Hard to believe that it was just over 4 years ago, in October 2008, that we attended a BlogHer convention in Boston, with my 6 month old baby in tow. We had absolutely zero clue what we were doing, other than the fact that we had enjoyed collaborating on our first little cookbook and wanted to start a food blog. A few months later, we launched Fab Frugal Food, which through the course of a few more conferences, eventually evolved into Apron Strings. To say we’ve learned a lot in the process is a massive understatement. When we first started, we didn’t even include pictures with every post. Can you even imagine?
Rewinding even further: in the first year after Donna and I first reconnected, checking the mailbox was always a big event. So much was exchanged in those early months, nearly every week seemed to bring a new surprise my way. One day I’d get a thick envelope filled with copies of old photographs, and would spend hours marveling at the novelty of seeing my resemblance in others. Another delivery brought a few favorite childhood toys that she had never gotten to pass down to me. Then, one of the most memorable parcels arrived: a huge, fairly hefty box of cherries.
True confession time – I had never really liked cherries much before. I associated them with the freakishly bright maraschino cherries, a flavor (and color) I found unappealing, and I think I had only tasted the real thing once or twice, probably a sad out-of-season representative of its kind. But I was thrilled to try a food that Donna herself had sent me – and from a place that was literally minutes away from her home. Somehow this made me feel even more connected to her.
I sat in my Middletown, Connecticut apartment and made an evening of pitting the cherries, something I had never done before – and savoring samples of them as I went. Cherries were a whole new experience, the taste and texture seemed freshly magical and meaningful. I decided to take it a step further, and set out to make my first from-scratch cherry pie. I must say, though it wasn’t much to look at (my baking skills are limited even now, and were all the more limited 13+ years ago), the flavor was spectacular.
Other orchard offerings were to follow, pears and apples in particular, and I made ample use of each and every one of them. If only I had known that blogging would become the wave of the future, I’d have snapped some pictures of the tarts tatin, almond frangipanes, and other creations that resulted, but alas, Instagram was not yet available.
What a long, strange, wonderful trip it’s been. We think this calls for a giveaway.
Though we love giving away big gun items like Blendtecs and Kitchen Aids (and surely will again in the future), this time we thought we’d switch it up a little, with something a little more personal. For each of the four years we’ve been blogging, we’re giving away a huge box of glorious Hood River orchard fruit and other savory treats, courtesy of The Fruit Company, the same place from which Donna sent me those cherries, pears and apples.
Behold the Northwest Gourmet Basket Grand Prize: