I am always amazed at the process of cooking a meal, preparing a dessert, or baking a pie. Yes, the smell of apple pie still brings me back to a sweetness of a time gone by. I could not have been more then five years old sitting at the kitchen table with my mom. Cooking and baking can be such a simple task for some, yet can be so overwhelming for others. The idea that one can take a combination of items such as flour, sugar, fruits, and spices, measure to specifications, sprinkle some love, and create a harmony of beauty and pleasure still leaves me in awe.
Most of us learn to cook as small children from our mothers. We run around the kitchen, our mothers and grandmothers constantly warning us of the dangers lurking around us, the knives, hot burners, pots, and limited space. As small children, we learn very early on that the kitchen is the “heart of the home” and the “heartbeat of the family”. This sacred space is usually reserved as a delivery point for our most exciting news in families, it’s also where our most tragic stories are often shared. It is where time stands still, and memories are collected in mason jars.
My sweetest memory of the kitchen as a child is the baking of my mom’s apple pie. It only has 4 ingredients, and it has now been shared with its 4th generation. It’s simple yet powerful, apples, sugar, cinnamon, and love.
My mother was not a great cook, she actually hated the kitchen but was not at liberty to express that in her day as it was not lady-like. She had about 8 basic meals and rotated them often, her apple pie being one of them. She had many other talents, decorating, sewing, dancing and laughing were just a few among many. Cooking was not one of them, except for her apple pie. I could not have been more then five years old when I learned to bake this famous pie. The fourth ingredient, love, was the special one. I can recall as she peeled the apples she would tell me stories, as she sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar she would sing and dance, she was always dancing. By the time the top crust was placed and the pie was oven-ready I was so excited I could not sit still! The smell of sweetness would quickly fill the kitchen and the
“heart of the kitchen” was beating! She would turn the oven light on as a special occasion, pull up a chair near the oven door so I could sit and watch the baking. I would sit patiently, waiting, as the crust would slowly turn golden and the sugary sweetness would bubble over the edge.
Today the smells are the same, my 3 grown sons have all peeled apples, they have all heard the stories about grandma, and my 13-year old daughter can make this pie with the same attention to love and story-telling around the kitchen counter as the women before her.
So whether cooking or baking comes easy or not, always remember that the love and energy you put into your kitchen is the love and energy you feed those around you. I encourage you to do as my mom did, find a recipe and make it your own signature dish. Add some laughter, sprinkle it with sunshine, give it a dash of joy and call it your own! Be present when you prepare it, don’t rush it, and enjoy the process. Own it!
Teach it to the next generation, make memories along the way, and always add the last ingredient called…Love. I never thought as I made the apple pie with my mother that I in fact was creating memories and would later continue the legacy with my own children. Create and continue always knowing that the love you give something carries on long after your gone.
Alex’ Apple Pie
6 Red Delicious Apples (must tell funny stories while peeling and thinly slice)
2 cups white sugar
3-4 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 box of Pillsbury Pie Crust (thawed)
Unlimited about of Love & Laughter
Mix apples, sugar, cinnamon, love & laughter in large bowl.
Spray non-stick spray on 9in dish and place bottom crust into dish.
Place mixer in 9in dish
Place second crust over mixer and seal edges of pie together. Poke 4-5 slits with a knife on top of crust to air.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes in center of oven.
Cover loosely with foil and reduce to 300 for another 45 minutes.