My Traditional Apple Pie

1 11 2013

IMG_7952Whether you’ve grown up in America or are well-versed in our idioms, you’ve certainly heard the phrase, “As American as apple pie.” That description could not fit me any better, and I embrace it wholeheartedly. The ironic side to the catchphrase, however, is that I do not like apple pie much. I like the filling of warm, softened cinnamon apples. It’s the crust that I do not prefer. I usually tolerate the bottom of the filling-infused crust, but I always push the side and top to the edge of my plate.

I surprise myself each year around Thanksgiving when I crave apple pie. I attributed this anomaly to the holiday season, but I discovered it’s more familial than that. I grew up with a strong support system of extended family, and during my teens, I participated in a weekly family devotion. This consisted of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and even second cousins. I enjoyed the range of interests, opinions, wisdom, and revelation. We piled on the floor, couch and chairs and circled around a coffee table crowded with mugs of black coffee and plates of apple pie. Sometimes vanilla ice cream topped the slices, but the host always placed a generous platter of sliced cheddar cheese on the table, a perfect accompaniment to apple pie.

This was my introduction to coffee, before it became Pacific Northwest chic. My choices were black coffee or tap water from old, metal pipes that tasted exactly like old, metal pipes. Coffee, please! I still drink black coffee only for nostalgia; otherwise, a mocha with whipped cream hits the spot. And, doesn’t everyone eat cheese with apple pie? I learned the answer is astoundingly, “No.” Recently, during a week when I particularly missed my grandparents, I served Kevin and the kids apple pie, ice cream and Tillamook cheese for dinner. Don’t judge—that theoretically covers most food groups. Although I was the only one drinking black coffee with my nostalgic dinner, I wouldn’t have sipped anything else.

As you head into your own holiday season, wherever you are and whatever you celebrate, find time to partake in an established tradition, or even start your own. Only current generations can give the gift of tradition.

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