Apple pie holds a place of honor for me, though it isn’t really my favorite kind of pie. Apple pie brings back memories of the orchard where my grandparents lived through my younger years, of running through the trees and playing with the ancient dollhouse on the screened-in patio. One bite reminds me of hot applesauce and the nip of fall, of anticipating Christmas on the green pile carpet in front of the black wood stove, of late night popcorn and Hershey-coated ice cream. When I eat a good apple pie, I can’t help but remember the red “ruby slippers” that Grandma later told me she kept because of my fondness for them as a child (she gave them to me a few years ago), the feel of Grandpa’s lap as he read me a book or told me a tall tale, the adventures in pass-through closet between the two upstairs bedrooms. Apple pie means big dinners and cozy conversations and smiling company.
I didn’t have the words for my fondness for apple pie, though, until I read John Edge’s wonderful book Apple Pie. In it, he undertakes the quest for “true” apple pie, “real” apple pie, apple pie that isn’t a can of pie filling in a thawed crust. It’s a journey that inspired me and that made me realize that, deep inside, I have a desire to learn to make a pie crust. He writes with humor, but make no mistake: this is a man on a mission – and an important one at that!
Did I mention it’s a short book and that it includes recipes? They’re recipes I think even I can follow, though I’m not going to attempt a crust without first going through some lessons with two of the great pie-crust-bakers I know.
I’d tell you to go to the library and get a copy, try it out, except that you might find, as I did, that not only will you drool all over the pages, but you won’t be able to cook with it because of your propensity to drip and dribble and make the pages stick together.