By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News & Eagle
Don’t you just love apple season? Think about it.
Jim and I drove out to the country this past week to pick up some apples that Bill and Hazel had picked and offered to us. (We also got turnips, etc., but that is another article.) Oklahoma autumns are so delightful that any trip to the country is a feast for the senses.
While at their house, Hazel talked about an apple pudding that I had put in my column many, many moons ago — she thought it might be 1996. She mentioned how easy and how good it was and how they enjoyed it and shared it with others. I had forgotten about it, but came home and checked my files, and sure enough, there it was in January 1995. She was close.
I started writing for the Enid News & Eagle in 1993, in September. That is a long time, and I have enjoyed every minute of the writing and meeting new people who enjoy hearing of the “good old days” and recipes. I am delighted that anyone still remembers back then and was glad to look up the recipe and try it again.
There is something nostalgic about apple time. I remember as if it were yesterday when we used to gather apples every fall. Daddy and Mother had purchased a parcel of land that had an established apple orchard on it. The only trouble was it was about six miles from where we lived and not accessible except by wagon and a team of horses. Needless to say, it took an entire day to gather enough apples to can, cook, bake with and wrap in paper to store for winter.
Those days were happy days. We went early in the morning as soon as we had finished our chores. We took a picnic and a jug of water and all the boxes, baskets and sacks we could find, and away we went. We also took a step ladder to pick the real good ones off the trees. We smaller kids gathered “windfalls” for apple butter and to bake pies. We did not let any of those apples go to waste.
As I remember, the only downside was that we had to compete with the hornets to pick up the apples. Hornets liked the rotten ones the best anyway, so there was little competition except we had to watch where we stepped and where we reached down to pick up one.
The closest I have come lately to recapturing that apple abundance feeling was a few years ago, we went to my sister’s in Albuquerque with our dear friends and neighbors, Tom and Helen. My sister had a huge apple orchard with a variety of apples. What fun we had gathering apples and thinking we had beat the bears to them.
When we got ready to come home, we loaded our car to the gills with apples in every place we could put them. We even held some in our laps. We enjoyed those apples all fall and winter making apple butter, apple fritters, apple pies, apple bread, and using them every way we could think of. We gave some away just to share our joy. It was not until years later that we found out that Tom and Jim had left a few sacks behind because there was no room for them. Had we known, we could easily have left some of our clothes behind to make room for those apples, too.
I can hardly write about apples without getting hungry. There is nothing more delicious as a snack than a tart apple with crackers and peanut butter, or a wedge of cheese. It takes only a few minutes to slice an apple, put it in a microwave dish, sprinkle a little white or brown sugar and cinnamon on it and nuke it for a minute or two. When I was a kid, we ate lots of baked apples, but we always cored them and filled the hole with cinnamon/sugar and baked them in the oven. We served them with real cream and they were delicious.
I can stand all day and look at the array of apples in the supermarkets, like a kid in a candy store. All those apples with their various sizes and colors and aroma make them all irresistible.
I can see why people bob for apples at Halloween parties and use apples in Thanksgiving stuffing.
Apples are so versatile.
Next time you pass the apples in the produce section, stop and get some. They are full of vitamins and fiber and stuff good for you. All that notwithstanding, they just taste good!
Can’t you see why songs were written about apples, like “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, with Anyone Else but Me”? Boy, that dates us! There are sayings about an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Someone is the apple of your eye. Sir Isaac Newton supposedly discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head. Many things are done for “mom and apple pie.” We “apple polish” to get a good grade or promotion.
Johnny Appleseed sure knew what he was doing when, as legend has it, he went through the countryside planting apple seeds from which many apple trees grew. Many of the old varieties are now considered “heirloom” apples because they are so hard to find. Wonderful old Jonathan apples are one of those. Rarely do we find them in stores as so many other varieties have taken their place. All apples are good, but some are just better!
Now to get to the recipe that stirred all of these memories. It is called apple pudding but is more like apple cake. Good served warm, hot or cold. It is just good. I use both raisins and nuts.
Peggy’s Grandma’s Apple Pudding
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup butter (room temperature)
21⁄4 cup fresh apples, peeled and diced fine
1 cup chopped nuts and/or raisins
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional, I do not use)
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
Cream sugar, egg and butter. Stir in apples, nuts and raisins. Sift dry ingredients and add to apple mixture a little at a time. Pour into slightly greased 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.