The first real illness of your child will be the most heartbreaking thing you’ll ever encounter up until that point in your life. You will put him down to bed as usual. You will read the stories that you now know by heart the sun has set not long ago….
You will turn on the electronic sound of waves that somehow soothes him despite his never having been to the ocean, except the one he lived in for 9 months deep within you, the world’s sixth ocean. You will cradle him in your arms as he shakes his sweaty head back and forth and back and forth, rapidly, to fight off the inevitable end to his day. You will gently lay him into his crib with his stuffed fox and smooth the hair on his head and tiptoe out of the room, avoiding the creaks in the floor as best you can, and pull the door almost-but-not-quite shut as you leave.
You will sink into the couch, letting the cushions envelope your back that aches from another long day of caring for your child and being on your feet in the kitchen or sitting at an uncomfortable desk slouched over a computer. You will grab a book or switch on the TV to catch up on some adult entertainment, because if you have to hear about one more of The Man in the Yellow Hat’s fuckups, you’ll lose your mind. Why does that guy keep trusting
a monkey an ape to do important tasks?
Twenty minutes into your relaxation, you will groan to hear your baby start crying, the high-pitched, woeful cry of a child abandoned, scared, and you will trudge upstairs to rock him back to sleep, only to be greeted by acrid aroma. As your eyes adjust to the dark, you will see the shaking figure of your child lying in the dinner he had eaten hours before and you will react quickly, calling your husband for reinforcements as you carry your sobbing child at arm’s length to the bathtub where he continues to heave, his eyes bewildered, as you strip him of his clothing and wipe him clean.
Up until this point, you have learned your child’s cries, just like people said you would, even though you thought you would never be able to differentiate between them. You know when he is hungry, when he is tired, when he wants to be held, and when he his angry that you took away the keys that he pilfered from your purse. But this cry is a cry you have not heard before and it pierces your heart. You would trade places with him and sit naked and shivering in the bathtub if it would take him back to only half an hour earlier, when he was peacefully, painlessly sleeping. But the best you can do is say, “I know, baby, I know,” wrap him in a towel, and hug him to your chest.
Your child will wear a thousand-yard-stare, broken from this first trauma, and he will look small. Almost as small as the day he was born, you will think, but that was a long time ago, and he is much bigger now. When the sheets have been changed and he has dozed off in your arms at last, you replace him in the crib and begin to worry. Will he become dehydrated in his sleep? Will he be warm enough? Too warm? Will the towel suffocate him? You will sneak in and gently pull the towel away from his face. When you finally calm down enough to put yourself to bed, he will wake again and you will repeat the process. As many times as it takes, as many days as it takes, until you get your wish and he is better and you are ill.
- ½ recipe No Fail Pie Crust
- 7 cups (980 grams) fresh or frozen boysenberries (I used frozen)
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- ½ cup (120 mL) Merlot or other dry red wine
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
- Egg wash (1 egg + pinch of kosher salt, lightly whisked)
- Vanilla Ice Cream (for serving)
- Prepare and chill the crust according to the directions.
- Place oven racks in the center and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine the boysenberries, lemon zest, and granulated sugar in a large bowl and toss to combine. Let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the wine to a simmer over medium heat in a small saucepan. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in a bit of the warm wine to make a cornstarch slurry. Add the cornstarch slurry back into the wine and whisk to combine. Pour the warm wine mixture over the berries. Stir to evenly coat the berries.
- Transfer berry filling to a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Roll your dough into a 9-inch circle (it doesn’t need to be perfectly round), then lay it over the filling. Tuck the dough in around the edge of the filling, leaving a bit of dough untucked and touching the walls of the skillet. Trim any excess with a paring knife. Brush the surface of the dough with egg wash and pierce the dough in four spots in an "X" shape near the center (see picture, above).
- Bake the pandowdy for 30 minutes, then remove the skillet from the oven. Use a sharp paring knife to cut through the dough on the diagonal, starting by making an “X” through the center through your poke marks, then cutting one parallel line on either side of the “X” lines. (You will have 6 cuts total.)
- Place a baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven (to catch drips) and return the skillet to the center rack. Bake for another 45 minutes, until the fruit juices are bubbling up through the cuts in the dough and the crust is golden brown. Cool the pandowdy on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then serve in bowls with vanilla ice cream.