Apple Pie Like Daddy Used to Make

After a warm late September afternoon at Wilson’s Orchard, Hubs and I found ourselves making applesauce and apple pie together. There’s a fantastically simple applesauce recipe in a book we snagged from the local Goodwill Store called “Apple Cookbook” by Olwen Woodier. I enlisted my daughter at the prep station.

Peanut washed the Sun Crisps, Blushing Golds, Honey Crisps, Enterprises, and Song of Septembers that we all found along the low branches of the orchard trees.  Then she ran off to play with her brother.

Pumpkin's pick of the day at Wilson's Orchard, Iowa. 9-27-2014
Pumpkin’s pick of the day at Wilson’s Orchard, Iowa. 9-27-2014

A third of our pickins’ went to the applesauce, a third to the pie, and a third were kept for eating fresh.  Hubs always claims he is no baker, but he is a worker bee, and excels at anything he attempts. In years past I made the foolish mistake others traditionally still make with house-wives and stay-at-home-moms: “Honey, you missed your calling; you would have been such a great (set carpenter, studio musician, surgeon, lighting engineer, nurse, chef).” For those that may have thought an educated or skilled or creative house spouse is a waste of talent, man are you mistaken!  All that talent is integrated in everything he or she brings to the family and that is priceless in our lives and for society.

Although a stay-at-home-dad is not so uncommon these days, Hubs has been doing this for almost 10 years. We have some separation of duties, like he agrees to take out the trash and I agree to clean the bathrooms. But one of the most fantastic aspects of this modern family life is experiencing domestic activities together.

As we have navigated the many ups and downs of marriage and parenting, we’ve stumbled on some very lovely routes: painting, gardening,travel planning (and execution) and interior decorating. One of my favorites is cooking together. He’s primarily the chef, I’m the main baker, but we dance in the kitchen together with ease. There is something comforting in creating food for the Fam together. It is not a chore or a task, as much as a creative and necessary Love for another human being: feeding another person.

Daddy and Mama Homemade Apple Pie. 9-27-2014, West Branch, IA
Daddy and Mama Homemade Apple Pie. 9-27-2014, West Branch, IA

I mix the flour, sugar, oil, and milk together, and Hubs presses it to the pie pan. “Do I need to prep this pan?” he asks over the boiling jars I’m prepping for applesauce canning.

“No – that’s a different kind of crust. There’s oil in the crust recipe,” as I coat the apple slices with cinnamon, sugar, and ground cloves. “Here’s the filling.” I hand him a green silicon bowl and turn to make the topping.

In comes Pumpkin, eager to be thrown into the chaos of the kitchen. “Mama – do you need hewelp?” he asks.

“Sure.  Get the stick of butter from the fridge.”  He gets it, Hubs grabs it, and asks what’s next. Pumpkin toddles off as quickly as he had appeared.

As Hubs cuts the butter into the flour and sugar, I turn down the heat on the apple pulp that Hubs had pressed through a sieve for me earlier. We now have applesauce, hot and ready to can. Hubs has crumbled topping over the apple pie filling.

I place the pie in the oven, and ladle the applesauce into the hot jars and into the canner, saving some for dinner tonight.  Hubs chuckles. “I wonder when someone will say they had apple pie ‘just like Daddy used to make’, instead of ‘like Mom used to make’.”

“I hope ours will say, ‘…just like Daddy and Mama used to make,’ and remember the things we did together as a family.”