I’m not a survivalist, but I sometimes wonder whether I could get by as a golfavore: a person who eats only foods available on his golf course. There are fish in the pond and turkeys in the woods, and I’d always have plenty of venison. Berries near the fourth and fifth tees. Corn in the field you drive through to get to the driving range. And, if the alternative was starvation, tons of acorns.
Recently, I made Golf-Course Apple Crisp, using apples from a tree at the bottom of the second fairway and crab apples from a tree between the seventh green and the eighth tee. I gathered the raw ingredients in the optional “shelf” of my Big Max Blade + pushcart:
And I adapted the apple-crisp recipe from the first edition of my wife’s first cookbook, Beat This, which the novelist Elizabeth Berg once described on NPR as “the book I have probably recommended more than any other”:
I tested it on my wife and me first. It was really, really good: the crab apples, which in our area have been superabundant and enormous this year, added the perfect amount of tartness. Then I made it again, for the old ladies I play bridge with, at our regular Thursday-night potluck dinner and bridge game.
As the bridge ladies and I were getting stuff ready in the kitchen, one of them knocked my apple-crisp pan, which I hadn’t cooked yet, onto the floor, and it landed upside down. So we did exactly what my golf buddies and I would have done: we used spatulas to scrape up the sliced apples and the brown-sugar-and-oatmeal topping, along with unknown quantities of dirt, sand, rug fuzz, dog hair, spilled dishwasher detergent, and who knows what else, and dumped everything back in the pan. Then we baked it and ate it anyway, with Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream, and it was really, really good.
My golf group and my bridge group aren’t all that different, even though in my golf group I’m kind of old and there are no women, while in my bridge group I’m the youngest and there are usually no other men. The language is essentially the same. Carol, who is my mother’s age, was a schoolteacher many years ago. One day, she went to work in a white blouse, red slacks, and blue-and-white spectator pumps. A little boy ran into her in the hall, looked up at her in awe, and said, “Miss, you look like a fuckin’ flag.”