The other day I decided I wanted a slice of apple pie. To those of you who like apple pie, this should not come as a surprise. On the other hand, my wife prefers cherry pie. I’m not saying cherry pie isn’t great as well. I certainly don’t want the Cherry Growers Association to think I don’t like cherries. I love cherries, but on that specific day, I wanted apple pie, no offense. I further decided, since I had the entire day to myself, I would be completely self-sufficient, and make it myself. My wife suggested against it. I informed her that, sometimes a man has to get back to his roots, and bake pie in the old way, like the cavemen did. She shook her head and walked away. Women will never understand caveman thinking.
I went on line and searched for apple pie recipes. Oh, My Goodness!! There where hundreds of them. One cooking site had thirty-two different recipes from various chefs, all different in one way or another. I just wanted a piece of pie, not (and I am embellishing) “A rare dessert experience, unseen in this world for a great many years”
As I looked through the various methods I found that none of them used simply apples. Several wanted me to take Johnathan’s. How am I supposed to know who Jonathan is? Even if I did know him, I’m quite sure he wouldn’t want me absconding with his apples. Another several suggested I use McIntosh, but did not specify whether they were talking about the computer, or the raincoat. Another popular pick was the pink lady. That’s a drink my old girlfriend used to get in bars, and while it did make her very friendly, again it has nothing to do with apples. Possibly it has something to do with the Garden of Eden apples, but I want nothing to do with those, after what happened to those kids. Speaking of ladies, you can’t forget good ol’ Granny Smith. There was also a recipe saying to use a Northern Spy. Now really, who has the time to go up north, find a spy, (who, by the way, probably doesn’t want to be found), and get his suggestions on apple pies.
As I was about to give up, my twelve-year-old daughter quietly informed me these were all different varieties of apples. In fact, she had done an extensive report on them for the third grade. Who knew apples were required study in elementary school? Did you know there are over seven thousand varieties of cultivated apples? The highest ranked is one called the Blue Pearmain. There is even one called Mutsu. I don’t know about the stores you go to, but mine has a six-foot year-round display with a two-foot high sign saying, “Apples,” not “Mutsus.”
Well I braved the weather and went to my local market. At the apple display, I did find exactly five varieties of apples. Not Seven Thousand! They were; Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, McIntosh, Granny Smith, and Gala. I found this strange. As I looked at the collected recipes, three of these varieties were not even mentioned. Apparently, you don’t use delicious apples in pies, be them red yellow or purple for that matter. I guess you only use crappy tasting ones, though this fact is not mentioned. Granny Smith apples were mentioned in several recipes, but unhappily, my store had only green ones. Not knowing how long it would take them to ripen, I selected the McIntosh. They were a bit soft bit I hoped it wouldn’t matter. I went home, reasonably secure in my decision.
Now I would like to say a word about pie crust. It seems pie crust gets tired very easily. Yes, that was eight words, but I felt they were important enough to be said, and if I had written, “Now I would like to say eight words about pie crust,” some of you might been confused. Back to what I was saying. Pie crust is made by combining butter, flour, sugar, salt, and water in proper concentrations. I see nothing alive in any of those ingredients, yet the recipe calls for the created dough to rest twice. It is not required for the dough to get a good night’s sleep. However, two rest periods are required so the butter remains okay.
Now, when I rest I usually like to sit and read a good book. But when butter rests it does it in the refrigerator, and there is no light in there. I became concerned. Was it all right if the butter fell asleep? Or is there some Zen Yogi somewhere teaching butter a higher level of consciousness? In butter circles, are there levels of enlightenment, the highest of which being ‘Flakey’? I’m sure being spread on a bagel wouldn’t require such progressive training. But now, it’s got me wondering if I am preventing the butter in my possession from being all that it can be by unwittingly spreading it on toast. I don’t think I can handle that kind of pressure. Perhaps I should call my therapist and see what she thinks.
As I waited for her service to find her, I read further in to the instructions. It states I need to roll the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. So, I made it into a ball and rolled it across the kitchen floor. I do admit it was a lot of fun. In fact, I even called my children in and we rolled that dough, and laughed for over an hour. The thing is, it stayed in a ball shape. It may have gotten a little thinner, but nowhere close to an eighth of an inch. There was also another issue. It seems in the rolling process, tiny pieces of dough stuck to the floor making one heck of a mess. When my wife saw this, she was not very happy. I let my dough rest again, while I scrubbed the floor.
To be honest, after all of this I really didn’t feel like having apple pie anymore. I grabbed a few Oreos and went to my big chair. Secure in the knowledge that I had done my ancestors proud. I hunted those cookies, gathered them up, and growled as I messily ate them. I achieved my inner caveman. Then I got out the vacuum cleaner.
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