When my mother was dying, she had very little appetite. She wanted only a few things, poached eggs, filet of sole and apricot tart. Mom was my St. Honoré, my patron saint of pastry. And standing witness to her painful passing eviscerated my desire to bake. Death's proximity is a trusty damper to all things that once brought joy. So I drove to a patisserie in Georgetown every day. I ordered one large apricot tart, sat at a table while the tart was boxed and meditated on the confectionary baubles in the pastry case. Each beautifully detailed; a labor of painstaking love in every hand piped rose and perfectly plum layer. A bittersweet toil; every one of them destined to be masticated and digested. A potable Buddhist sand painting, purposeful ephemera, a pastry communion. Each a meditation on delicious divinity. And when it's vanished, we have the memory of it's magic.
Our friend Stephen Sands has passed. And today, St. Honoré at our side, we bake comestible prayer beads for his service; remembering that our loss is heaven's gain.