By Tim Hazell
In the past few decades post-modern urban planners have argued that true public spaces are disappearing. For them, architecturally designed green urban environments for real social interaction, quality study, leisure, and meeting places for city dwellers have been partially replaced by pseudo-public spaces, such as the shopping mall and exclusive businesses for the social elite.
Urban environments for all citizens are meant to express the energy of the entire community.
The way that the architecture of these spaces is designed represents a semantics that grows out of this eloquent, innate social conversation. Quality recreational time in these positive environs becomes a natural, liberated expression of the people themselves.
In a wilderness setting, we seek escape and the opportunity to think about other things. Brief visual contact with trees has been shown to relieve daily stress from confinement, improve positive feelings, and reduce anxiety, whether sitting in a park as a passive restorative experience or actively moving through wooded countryside. We associate autumn with a riot of tints in the crowns of trees. Pablo Neruda’s “In the Night” uses the apple tree and its universal appeal to invoke a promise of springs to come.
“Winter is yet gone, and the apple tree appears, suddenly changed into a fragment of cascade stars. In the night we shall go in up to its trembling firmament, and your hands, your little hands and mine will steal the stars.”
Recipes for apple pie or “torta” date back to the Registrum Coquine, a beautiful cookbook written at the beginning of the 15th century by the German cook, Johannes Bockenheim, who worked at the court of Pope Martin V. There are countless modern versions of this universal favorite, including this award-winning apple crumb!
Apple Crumb Pie
9 inch refrigerated pie crust, thawed according to package directions (or homemade)
6 Granny Smith and/or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced or chopped into one-inch pieces
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place sliced apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over apples and toss until apple slices are evenly coated. Stir in raisins and walnuts. Transfer mixture into pastry shell. In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup flour and brown sugar. Using two knives, blend cold butter into the flour and brown sugar until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apple filling. Cover top loosely with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Allow pie to cool before slicing and serving plain or with vanilla ice cream!