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October 14, 2019

Quince Conundrum

By Maryanna Gabriel

"They dined on mince and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon."
- Edward Lear 

     The affront of it all. My cheeks puffed in and out. A line has been crossed. It's a security breach. I stared at an avocado with bite marks taken out of it. That's it. The game is on. The fiesta is over. Buckle up, fellas. The Thanksgiving Guacamole Special has sold out. We're closed.

     A quick survey of the trap lines reveal the bait taken but the spring not depressed. Clever. Very clever. Like something out of the movie "Jaws" I see the missing trap has resurfaced on the outside
kitchen deck, regurgitated without the wire that attached it. Consoling myself I went for a walk down a quiet country road. There by a mail box was a bag with a sign on it. The sign said "Free Quince." In a moment of spontaneity and feeling militant already, I took the sign at its word and liberated it.

     I once picked quince in Greece for about 25 drachmas. They were fuzzy, peculiar, yellow things at the time and I realized as I stared at them now that I had  no idea what to do next. I cut into one. Rather unyielding, I thought. A quick internet search gave me to understand one has to cook them. I tried frying one with butter, brown sugar and rose water. Hmm. Tasted like honey. I was beginning to see the attraction. Motivated now, I realized that if I was going to live through the day the quince needed to be boiled and the juice extracted, this peeling business being an unenjoyable way to spend one's life. The resulting pinkish nectar is so pretty. I understand now why I saw so much Membrillo, or quince paste, in Spain while walking the Camino.