Now, I’d go so far as to say that I’d have to search deep in the corners of my world to find a traditional housewife. Honestly, I don’t even quite know what that means these days. Working in the home or out of it, all the homemakers (male and female) that I know are balancing far too many hats to seem reminiscent of that image of the wife in the home. But I’d also say that domesticity is stronger than ever, that the skill and art of housewifery is alive and well–it’s just that the way that it manifests evolves in its own way in every home and through every family. My sense is that times can change all they want, but that the power of a good smelling kitchen spans through all time.
If I had my way, I’d roast quinces in my oven all fall and winter. I’d roast so many quinces that the smell would stick to me as I made my way through the world, and that would be my mysterious and exotic scent that brought back memories to people that they didn’t even know they had.
That’s what a roasting quince does.
Unfortunately, quinces are not so easy to come by. I have a friend who has a pretty study supply through the fall, and I swear the next tree I plant around here will be a quince. But when you can find them? Roast them. Sit in your kitchen with your eyes closed and live through your nose for a little while.
Maybe Yankee Candle makes a roasted quince votive? Somehow I’m not sure that it could be captured by anything other than a roasting quince, but I challenge them to try.
I made this bread two days ago, and my kitchen still smells good. I was in love with the bread and now it’s gone and I’m thinking about finding more quinces. It’s a cake, but I served it with roast chicken and that turned out to be a very good idea. As the night wore on it was also exceptional with cream cheese, and with butter, and in the morning with coffee when the new day had begun. I’ve just had the last piece now, you know, so I could have it fresh in my mind when I was trying to get you to make it. It was even better today than it was yesterday. And better then than the first day. It’s a moist and substantial cake that you could wrap in parchment and give as a gift. And if quinces are scarce, make it with pears. It will smell different, but still lovely.
This bread takes forever to bake. The recipe that I was working from told me this, and I didn’t believe it, but I’ll tell you know it takes forever to bake. That’s not including baking the quinces, either.
But it’s worth it. Really really worth it.