Adventures in Eating: Party Fruit Compote

Growing up, one used to hear the “older folks” (which I am now one of) tell how travel expands the mind. I guess it does, but in my instance it also expands the girth. We recently took a quick 8-day break and thanks to airfare bargains and jet travel made it to Great Britain and back. We decided to spend a couple of the days with relatives in Wimbledon. Then, off to visit the English wineries in Sus­sex and the Isle of Wight. This was go­ing to be a leisurely ‘mind-expanding’ trip.

Prices have changed in the last 20 years and there are no bargains. But our favor­ite experience, bargain or not, is English teatime. Whatever reason for its begin­nings, it is a welcome break in the day.

The one tea room worth visiting is “Maids of Honor” in the London suburb of Kew Gardens. It was established in 1838, is still family run, and the pastry named Maids of Honor is still a secret family recipe. Worth the effort and the calories to go there.

Living in Southern California, we do forget, and take for granted, the varieties of fresh fruits available year round. In Great Britain, mostly “tinned” fruits are used in their entertaining. Watching shoppers, I noted that apples are pur­chased one or two at a time; unlike the bagfuls sold in our markets.

Consequently, canned fruit is still used, desired and coveted by the “Brit”. It is not used lavishly, but spared for special occa­sions. As we dipped the pierced spoon into bowls of pears, peaches, prunes, etc. at a morning buffet, I recalled a recipe of some 30 years ago. Easy if you can wield a can opener, yet attractive, tasty and col­orful for the holidays. It can be used as a dessert in shallow bowls, dobbed with whipped cream, or served on the side with your favorite meats with a pierced spoon. If you have any leftover, it keeps well in your refrigerator. That is always handy.

I present it to you in its entirety, price and all. It gives inflation a new meaning.

PARTY FRUIT COMPOTE

1 (1 lb) can peach halves

1 (9 oz) can pineapple slices

1 (8 oz. can green gage plums

1 (8 oz) can purple plums

1 (1 lb) can pear halves

1 (8 oz) can apricots

1 (8 oz) can Bing cherries

2 cups white wine (Sauterne is great)

1/4 tsp spearmint flavoring

Drain the syrup from the canned fruits. Mix fruits together. Mix 2 cups of canned fruit syrup and the wine. Add the spearmint flavoring and pour over the fruits. Chill thoroughly. Serves 8 or more. (Costs $1.87 in 1958!)

Don’t forget, today you can purchase fruits in their natural juice, which is far better than all the sugar used in canning years ago.

Cheers and a toast to good times!

– Rosemarie

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