My neighbor is almost 90 and we don’t speak the same language. In his garden, he has a beautiful apple tree.
When I first moved to Scandinavia, I landed in a big city. I rarely stammered anything in my new language because all my neighbors spoke English very well. In my green, tidy, fancy neighborhood, every garden had its own beautiful apple tree.
The apples, though, remained largely unpicked. They fell, and rotted. Sometimes, a few remained on the trees after the snow came, dressing them with red dots, looking like Christmas bulbs. It was beautiful, and stupid.
This fall, just a few days after I ended up in this tiny village here up north, my 90 years old neighbor, who doesn’t speak English, told me that he had too many apples and that I could pick as many as I wanted from his tree.
I stammered, in my new language: thank you, thank you so much, that is so nice of you.
I’ve spoken different languages and lived in neighborhoods with apple trees before, but this, you see, had never happened to me.
The apple cake of good neighbors
3 dL flour
2 dL sugar
1 ts baking soda
1 dL sour milk or yoghurt
1/2 dL neutral vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
1 pinch of vanilla sugar
2-3 of the neighbor’s apples. (If your neighbor happens to have a plum tree instead, grab a bunch of plums. It’s delicious too)
Mix all dry ingredients together. Add liquids/eggs and mix well. Pour in a buttered pan. Slice the fruits and arrange them on top of the batter. Place in a warm oven (200°C). Bake until the top is golden (about half an hour). Lower the oven temperature to 150°C and continue baking for another half hour or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.