Sunday, October 11, 2009


I was just a kid, maybe around 10 years old, when my mom taught me to make apple pie. In our back yard, we had five apple trees. Among them was the absolutely best apple-pie tree in the world. Nobody knew exactly what type of apples they were, but the tree was old enough to have been planted by Johnny Appleseed himself. Or maybe by Adam and Eve, it was that old.

I don’t make many apple pies any more. It’s just the two of us rattling around the house, and one of us (not to name names, but not me) has high cholesterol and other maladies that are counter-intuitive to pie. But on Friday, before the snow hit, Tom picked the last of our apples off the two trees we have in our back yard, and we’re getting company today. So I had a sudden urge and a good reason to make an apple pie.

While I was making this pie, I remembered a couple of other pies. One was back in 1989 when I taught my daughter Shannon to bake a pie. She has always been an independent little twerp. She still is. So true to form, after just one pie-baking lesson from her mom, she decided to make a pie one day, all on her own. When I got home and saw it on the cupboard, I just had to take a picture. Here’s Shannon’s first pie, baked at age 9:

I remember another pie in 2001, when I was helping my neighbor Win Win learn to speak English. She had come to the United States from Myanmar (formerly Burma), and she was eager to learn everything American, including what to do with those apples that grew on a tree in her back yard. So she showed me how to make sushi, and I showed her how to make apple pie.

It felt good to dig out the old recipe book and find the apple pie recipe. An apple pie recipe isn’t any good unless it’s got notes and drips all over it. Mine must be really good—lots of splotches. It felt good to peel and slice all those apples, and mix them up with flour, sugar, butter, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
It felt good to roll out the pie crust and plop it in my mother’s old yellow pie plate. I tried to crimp the edges like my mother used to (And yes, I see the wrinkle. I'll fix it--I'll fix it. Hey, I'm not perfect). The crimping is to seal in all that good juice, even though later, the burned smell from the oven told me that my pie runneth over—just like it did for my mother sometimes.

So here’s my apple pie and my memories. I think that’s how you can tell you’re getting older—when everything, including apple pie, reminds you of a story or a person who passed through your life.


orangesunrise11 said...

oh man, apple pie would be so good right now.
this is rachel by the way.

2to4aday said...

Welcome, Rachel! If you lived a little closer, I'd give you a piece. I even have some vanilla ice cream to plop on top.

kath said...

I use my mother's old pyrex bowls and pie plates, my grandmother's mixing knives and forks (you know the ones, the big handled and bone handled silver heavy ones), old aluminum measuring spoons and flour sifter. I always feel a connection to the women who have made countless pies, cakes, salads and doled out the love using those kitchen items. Thanks for reminding me! I came over from a comment on pioneer woman.