It's strange how something so simple can trigger a flood of wonderful memories. Last week, driving down the road I passed a guy selling 8 lb bags of apples for $5. I had the natural reaction that anyone would, I'll stop, buy two bags and make apple butter. That WAS your first thought right? :-)
Anyway, I bought two bags. They were nice apples. They weren't the kind of pumped up, glossy, Supermen of apples that you find in the grocery store. They were the smaller, apples that real people grow on real trees in a backyard type setting. Even though I know that wasn't where these "guys" came from, it still reminded me of the apple tree that my Mammaw has growing on the hillside in the middle of the horse pasture: REAL apples.
When I was younger and lived at home, I would walk through the pasture to Pappaw and Mammaw's and pass that tree on the way. I might pet the horses, pick an apple, feed them one, feed me one. If it was that time of year when they were falling, we'd take a bag and pick them up, trying to avoid the bees and take the bag to Mammaw. Where she made the best stuff happen with those apples...Mammaw's Apple Pie!!
Pappaw and I would sit on the carport peeling the apples. You had to have the right set up. We had the bag of apples turned on it's side on the table so we could reach in and grab one, round cake pans for the scraps and a big bowl for the apple slices. He had a way of turning work into a fun time. I would listen to his stories and he was always interested in whatever I had to say. If I cut a little too much of the meat of the apple away with the peeling, he'd say, "Now, I thought we were peeling apples not slicing them." That was always followed by his little chuckle. He'd patiently show me how to get the knife just right to peel the apple.
The biggest challenge was to peel the apple keeping the whole peeling in tact. This was important!! My cousins and brothers and I would throw the peeling over our shoulder and let it land on the ground. Whatever letter the peeling made, that was the first initial of the person we were going to marry. Now, this obviously is an old wives tale. If we had married someone with every initial that popped up, we'd be in trouble. But, it was fun. The peel would land and we'd say, "Hmmmm, S I bet their name is Stephen or Samuel." We found the silliest things to entertain ourselves.
Fun memories. Now, let's get back to the apple butter I was going to make. My great grandmother always made apple butter. Of course, the best. She made it in a copper kettle outside over an open flame. She always put a silver dollar in the pot to keep the apple butter from sticking. My grandmother then carried on the tradition baking hers in a roasting pan in the oven for 4 hours. My mother then carried on the tradition using a crock pot. (Aren't crock pots the grandest invention?) This is also the method I used just this past weekend. It was finished last night just in time to have some warm apple butter on our dinner rolls.
Just a simple stop to buy apples turned in to such a stream of reminiscence. Thanks for stopping by to "listen." Hope to post again soon!
Until then, EnJOY!
Thee Alley Kat