My son and his girlfriend established a tradition last year. They pick apples together in relative harmony.
Then they come home and get into a serious apple pie baking competition.
This year, since the international trade show was cancelled, I got to join them. It was the perfect day for apple picking, and Vermont is pretty much the perfect location. Our leaves this year are already peaking. The apple orchard we chose has long range views from almost everywhere. We meandered through the Macintoshes, Apple Crisps, Macouns, Cortlands, Golden Delicious and Empires. Add in the special light that October brings and it’s literally the stuff of postcards and magazine spreads.
Once back home, the competition commenced. The two of them used different recipes. One crust called for vinegar and butter, the other a more traditional Crisco/flour/salt/water base. One pie filling needed to be cooked on the stove first, the other just stirred together.
At the end of the day, our son’s girlfriend’s parents joined our family under the pergola at the outdoor kitchen. Since I am not gone for much of the fall season this year, I’ve gone all out on the pumpkins and the mums. (My husband would have been fine with less, but it does make us all smile!)
When we finish our pizza and salad supper, the two young chefs present their apple pies. The more traditional recipe has yielded, well, a pretty traditional pie. The new recipe? It ended up more like apple sauce surrounded by crust. Nonetheless, the two judges (our son’s girlfriend’s mom and dad) politely find good characteristics to praise in both efforts.
This is one of those days that will stay with me, tucked away in the memory banks to pull out and savor, or perhaps retell some day to another generation when they go apple picking.
And if my life had been “normal” this year, I would not have been here this weekend. One more silver lining.