An apple a day keeps the doctor away is an old saying. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that were really true! Sadly during this virus before a vaccine is discovered, all we can do is: wear a mask, social distance and wash our hands often. I used to love going places. Now I only go to the grocery store and the pharmacy. Staying home was NEVER my idea of a good time. Now at least I feel safe at home, but nervous about traveling. Such are the times.
Now, back to apples which are delicious even if they don’t keep the doctor away. Apples have been eaten for a long time. Remember the Garden of Eden! Now apples are eaten for their taste and fiber. They have only about 80 calories. They can be eaten out of hand so no dishes have to be washed. They are the basis for applesauce and apple butter, pies, cakes, salads, donuts and caramel apples. Some people like to eat them with popcorn, a chocolate bar or cheese.
There are so many varieties so everyone probably has a favorite. My taste in apples has changed over the years. Big red Delicious apples, the kind you get in Christmas stockings or in bags after a Christmas church service were my first favorites. They were soft and sweet. I now consider them mushy. I used to like Haroldson apples because they were crunchy and fairly tart. Now I prefer Honeycrisp apples grown in Minnesota. Like Goldilocks, I find them “just right.” If I buy other kinds to save money I never finish the bag, which is really not saving any money. Honeycrisp apples cost more but I am worth it.
My Grandma Ruth made an awesome applesauce cake in a 9×13 pan. It was so sweet that frosting was not necessary. However, my Grandpa Ernie loved apple pie best. What is it with guys and pies? They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It might not start that way but eventually it comes true. I keep my husband’s heart through apple pie (or any kind of pie) and mashed potatoes and gravy. Advertisers try to convince the public that instant potatoes and canned gravy taste like homemade. They lie. When organizations have a dinner or a supper to raise money, they always stress that the mashed potatoes are homemade.
The problem with real mashed potatoes is the potato itself. It has to be peeled, which is a lot of work. Until botanists develop a skinless potato, keep your peeler handy. Also stress to members of your household that “many hands make light work.” My mother repeated this often when it came to cooking or cleaning. I remember the day she came home with four potato peelers. It was a harbinger of hard work for us children. She announced that each of could have our very own potato peeler, just like we had our own dust cloth. She pretended they were great gifts. Since we already had our own potholders, we were not fooled. She even offered to embroider our names on the holders. That was a bluff. My mother only sewed on buttons and hemmed garments. She was very sly and she could manipulate people with her charming smile. Her own children, however, were not fooled by her fake charm. It was fun to watch and see which people (even adults) fell for it! She also would volunteer to be “it” for indoor hide and seek. We had to hide and count to 200 before she would come find us. It took her a long time to find us because she was reading a book while we were hidden and silent. I suspect that with her smile and her choice of words and her love of trickery she could have run for political office and won. She was never boring, though. She made great gingerbread and apple pie which made her very popular in the neighborhood. I don’t think Mr. Rogers would have approved of her style!
An Apple a Day Salad
6 Braeburn apples, cored and sliced
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup seedless green grapes, halved
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon mayo
6 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon
Cut the apple slices into halves. Combine the apples, strawberries and grapes and walnuts in a bowl and mix gently. Whisk the mayo and milk and honey and cinnamon in a bowl. Add to the fruit mixture, tossing to coat. Chill, covered, until serving time. Spoon into a lettuce lined serving platter. Serves 6.
Eat it, even if you don’t like it that much. Some children are starving in the world so you should feel grateful.