A pumpkin pie is cooling on my countertop while an apple pie is baking – that is the sequence that I have followed for years. Preparing for Thanksgiving is such a personal effort. Over the years the traditions that develop become part of who you are, and part of what others will remember about you.
While I was preparing the ingredients for my apple pie, my thoughts turned to my Mom and my husband, both of whom have been celebrating holidays in the heavenly realm for some years now.
My Mom always sat while she peeled apples. A large pan would be in her lap to hold her stash of washed apples and to contain the peelings. She cut each apple into quarters using her trusty paring knife (the only one she owned), peeled each quarter of apple, and then removed the core.
Mom didn’t mix the sugar and spice ingredients for an apple pie in a separate bowl, or even measure them. She would just use her practiced eye and add sugar, cinnamon, some flour, and a bit of nutmeg between each new layer of apples that went into the pie crust. A few dabs of butter were sure to be placed on top of the final layer of apples before the top crust was added. (Mom measured in dibs and dabs).
There were some more dabs, but this time it would be light cream on the top crust, followed by a sprinkling of sugar. The slits were made in the crust, and all was ready to bake. I truly cannot remember a pie that she made that wasn’t delicious!
In our home, my husband peeled the apples, using our trusty paring knife, as his contribution to our pie baking ritual. He liked to sit with a large bowl in his lap to contain the apples and peelings. His method of peeling, however, was to go around and around the whole apple, often peeling most of the apple in one continuous circular strip. Then he would quarter the apples and core them, leaving the slicing up to me as I finished preparing the pie.
When I peeled the apples this year, I sat with my bowl of apples in my lap, but I didn’t use my trusty paring knife. I used a different type of peeler (a Titan peeler) on each whole apple, leaving only a bit of peeling on each end of the apple to be removed as I quartered and cored them.
When preparing an apple pie, my method has always been to measure the sugar and spice mixture and mix them together in a separate bowl (no confidence in a practiced eye, I guess), adding some of the mixture on each new layer of apples in the pie crust. No butter, but a tablespoon of lemon juice gets sprinkled on top of the final layer of apples. I always make the letter “a” in the center of the top crust when making slits for the release of steam (my own tradition), and I do the light cream dabbing and sugar topping thing that my Mom did on the top crust.
As I reflect on the memories that have surfaced for me today, it occurs to me that my sons will not likely remember how I make an apple pie. And they certainly won’t know about my Titan peeler being used this year.
That is of little consequence to me, though. I feel confident that they will remember that their Mom baked many a pie and tons of cookies throughout the years, and she always added a lot of love to everything she baked. Love was and still is spoken in my home – they’ll remember that for sure!
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Beginning the Day with a Grateful Heart
Source: Personal memories