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ArlingtonOpinion'Old School' column: Apple of my eye

‘Old School’ column: Apple of my eye

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Even though I consider myself a foodie, I’m surprised at the large role food plays in my thinking – about the seasons, holidays, celebrations and even the weather.

So having passed my “Peach Period,” I’m now in the “Apple Zone,” with many happy memories.

I remember chaperoning field trips to apple-picking for each of my daughters’ preschools. We mothers carpooled the kids to the nearest orchard (somewhere out Route 7, as I remember), unloaded them from our cars and the picking began.

In this case, “picking” meant 4-year-olds bending to the ground to rescue escapees from tree branches they couldn’t reach.

After the picking, we ate our bag lunches, chased with a fresh apple for dessert. Yes, Safeway and Giant have hundreds of them, but it you’ve never eaten an apple straight from the tree, you haven’t lived.

I remember another year, when I was heavy into homemaking, I bought an entire bushel of Jonathans at Stribling Orchard, brought them home and made apple pies for days. I could have applied for a job at Marie Callender.

I froze dozens to bake throughout the year, and I must admit they came in handy on those cold winter nights when I wanted a scrumptious dessert for dinner. Even though my house wasn’t in “apple-pie order,” at least it smelled like one.

Another seasonal treat was the delicious applesauce my mom made at this time of the year. I didn’t realize the stuff even CAME in a can until I had some at a neighbor’s house and returned home griping about the “tinny” taste of what I’d eaten.

When Mother gave my newly-wed self copies of my favorite recipes, applesauce was among them, and she had helpfully written in the margin: “Fall apples mush and spring apples don’t.”

A favorite fall treat for me as a kid was a caramel apple. The delicious, chewy goo outside contrasted with the juicy, tart apple inside and made my mouth water. Still does.

After bobbing for apples at every childhood Halloween party, we were treated to cups of apple cider. If we were lucky, it was served warm with a cinnamon stick. What a fragrance!

My husband hails from the home of John Chapman, AKA Johnny Appleseed of Fort Wayne, Ind. When we visit there, we often make a trip to Johnny Appleseed Park.

This Old School type gives silent thanks to him for spreading deliciousness across our country.

Reach Carol McEwen at carolwrites4fun@gmail.com.

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