It’s apple season

30 Sep


No, no, not that sort of Apple. We’re a PC/Android home, thankyouverymuch. I guess there’s a new version of OS X out today for you Apple folks, though; some useful details about it here.

Our mini-orchard has two apple trees, Honey Crisp and Empire, and a white peach tree. The peach tree was a bust this year: the fruit was small, buggy, and gross. We let the squirrels have it. But when the apple harvest came in, oh my! I’m buried under burlap bags of apples. I’ve baked apple bread, apple cake, and two kinds of apple muffins so far. We’ve given apples away to neighbors and coworkers, and we still have loads of them. Oh, and the Empire tree isn’t completely ripe yet. I’ll spend the next two days baking and chopping the apples in various ways to fill the chest freezer in the basement and we’ll eat our apple-a-day quota until we can’t stand anymore.

It used to be that recipes and preserving methods were handed down in families, usually from mother to daughter, and some of them guarded jealously. I’ve noticed an interesting inversion, though. The proliferation of cooking blogs, corporate websites, recipe collection sites, and extension office information online means that I have more apple recipes at my fingertips than I could use in a lifetime. My mother — who still has a big binder of recipes and Betty Crocker cookbooks for reference — asks me for methods to freeze apples as well as for recipes. To be fair, my mom learned to cook for a family in the 1960s and 1970s, when boxed and canned ingredients were admired. I still see recipes like her old ones drifting around on Facebook, generally from people of her age or who never left my rural hometown.

I thought of this earlier in the year when I read Why Are Millennials So Obsessed With Food? on The Atlantic. The young author interviewed talks about the effects of technology on foodie-ism in some interesting ways, though I disagree with some of her conclusions. No, Millennials are not the first to become foodies: from what generation does she think the Food Network, organic food movement, Julia Child, and Williams-Sonoma stores came? The Internet’s ubiquity comes at a time when Millennials happen to be young adults and I think the technology is driving the generation, not the reverse. She made an interesting point about using food as a cultural signifier, though. Picture two cooks: one is making a tuna noodle casserole with canned soup, canned peas, and crushed potato chips on top and the other is making chips from organic kale with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Do you imagine them as different social classes? Different weights? Different education levels? Different ages? A couple years ago when visiting family in Seattle, I talked about kale with my (gracious, lovely) sister-in-law, and she showed a flash of disappointment that trends like that had reached Michigan. “I guess it really is everywhere now,” she said, with a tiny pout. I suppose it was the equivalent of having a band you discovered early achieve mainstream success, and realizing that being a fan no longer had cred attached.


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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Culture


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