I discovered quince at my local farm market last year. I was looking for another fruit to enjoy in the Fall season and was intrigued by this funny looking fruit. I bought one, took it home and researched cookbooks to find out how to eat it. Taking a sniff of it as directed by some folks made me smile. I am not familiar with tropical fruits but I imagine the floral scent of this rough looking fruit is similar. I LOVE the smell of quince. Reading on, I learned it is not meant to be eaten raw. Like people, quince needs some tender loving care to reach its supreme potential. I peeled it, cut up its hard flesh, popped it into a sugar syrup, and poached it. One quince doesn’t make a lot so it was a bit of work for not a lot of eating and I was OK with that. I wanted to see if I liked it before I made a big batch. Letting it cool, I admired the pinky color both the syrup and flesh had turned. I speared a piece and savored the flavors. YUM! Now, I buy them three at a time and my last batch is in the freezer as another experiment. Since the season is short, I want to see if the poached fruit holds up after being frozen. My favorite way to eat quince thus far is over plain yogurt. It’s a sweet mixture with the syrup and therefore the perfect foil to a tart plain Greek yogurt.
As I said, quince and people share the need for tender loving care and a look under the outside covering to discover the beauty of each. Let’s face it, lots of us wear masks and costumes to protect ourselves. Some of us can afford more expensive masks and costumes but at the end of the day letting people see us is a scary proposition. That’s where therapy can be beneficial. That’s where not judging people by their cover can be rewarding. Finding a therapist you enjoy working with and can trust is a lot like finding that perfect mix between the bitter quince and the sweet syrup. Finding a therapist who you feel safe and understood by is the goal AND therapy is a lot of work. Cutting up those hard quinces is work and the reward it totally worth it. Getting to know yourself or others can come with unexpected or unwanted surprises. Peeling a quince sometimes reveals brown spots. “Is it no good?” I ask myself. No where in my reading did it say brown spots were bad so I pop the fruit in the syrup and hope for the best. To my delight, all the fruit tastes good. Those brown spots didn’t negatively affect the end product. Our “brown spots” – be them trauma or self perceived flaws can all get “cooked down” in therapy so we can become our best self. The quince may not be a pretty fruit raw but it smells fabulous. We too have strengths that are all too often forgotten or dismissed because we are focused on our “flaws.” When I cut up those quinces, I smell the fruit often. I enjoy the good while working through the tough. Take some time today to focus on your strengths. Relish the parts of your personality you love while fine tuning those parts of yourself you would like to be different.