Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apple pie and 9/11 Remembrance

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back! The peaches are all eaten, canned, and on their way to being a beautiful memory of the summertime. But you know what comes after peaches?
Apples!! We live in major apple country (well, major everything country) so we get about 6 boxes a season, starting with Galas. Of course, Fujis are our favorite, but they won't be out for another four weeks.
 So, we get a box of Galas and eat them out of hand or cook with them, either way. They make good pie apples, as long as you cut the sugar a bit and don't cook too long. Good for applesauce, too.
 Random note: My author copies of Season of Hope arrived! It makes me laugh every time when my kids look in the box and say, "But Mama, they're all the SAME!" Because who would ever want a box of thirty books all the same?? We get boxes of books about every month and they're full of great new, interesting stories... And then there are these, full of all the SAME BOOKS.

Ok, I really needed something fried and sugary since I've been on this diet. It's been about two days and I'm going to die if I don't get something very, very unhealthy in my system. So, this is an act of self-preservation. And, for the good of the world, and all that.

 I found this recipe on allrecipes and the original recipe makes 6 to 8 fried pies, and we have 8 people here so I doubled the recipe. I'm going to give the original measurements, but my pictures will show a lot more than they ask for. (Got it? Good!)                    

2 cups all-purpose flour                                                

1/2 cup shortening, chilled                                                    

1 teaspoon salt                                                    

1/2 cup cold water         
 (Right, basically pie dough, like your momma taught you.)                                           

Filling is 2 apples, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Chop the apples add the sugar and cinnamon. Cook for 10 minutes on the stove top, stirring constantly until soft.
    Minor digression. I love pecan pie. LOVE IT. And I thought it would be fun to fry some mini pecan pies. Hmmmm. Good intentions and all that, right? So, pecan pie filling recipe here. I cooked it on the stove for about ten minutes, because it has eggs and I wasn't sure if frying the little pies would get the filling hot enough to kill off any bacteria. Just in case, ya know?                            
This is Louise. She's an old hand at pie dough. She practically does all the hard work herself! I jut put my hands on those two skinny parts and push. Like magic!
 Here are my helpers, cutting out biscuit-shaped rounds. I would say using the biscuit cutter but I don't have one. We just used wide-mouthed lids. It worked just fine and now I can advance from drop biscuits to those pretty shaped ones.
    Place the filling in the middle and fold, pressing the edges with a fork. (I know, Ruthy already had a post on fried pies and hers even had sour cherries inside! But just pretend you've never seen any of this before.)

    Lots of leftover dough. Hmmmmm. What shall we make?

Here is one, ready to be dropped into BOILING OIL. Have I ever mentioned that I never fry food? I have a fear of boiling oil. I think in a past life, I must have been dipped in boiling oil by a conquering army. (Ok, so, I don't believe in past lives, but I hate to sound like a big weenie who can't fry bacon because the sound of the popping grease gives me the heebie jeebies.)

I sent all the children outside to play in the sprinklers (don't worry, it was about 89F) and stood over the hot, hot stove. I hope you're feeling sorry for me.
Picnic time! I brought out fresh apples, little fried pies and Tillamook cheddar cheese. I love cheddar and apples. Our friend Cassey puts the cheddar right on the apple pie. I'm not that weird, but I do love tang of cheddar against the bright sweetness of a perfect apple.
As we enjoyed the perfect moment of a late summer day, lounging on towels in the hot sun and eating something so very American, I couldn't help thinking of tomorrow.
Everyone has a story of where they were when they first heard of 9/11. I'm no different. But what I remember the clearest, that morning (we're on the West coast so the towers had already fallen by the time I found out) is my two little girls.
We rolled out of bed, all three of us, since early morning meant their Papa had gone to work and everybody wound up in the big bed. Isabel was 2, Ana was 6 months, and we were sleepy-happy, warm and contented. I turned on the coffee maker, the girls were playing with crayons and paper in the living room.
Isabel asked to watch Sesame Street so I turned on the TV.

That was not what we saw. They were too young to understand why every channel was the news. They were too young to see how Katie Couric fought back tears and or hear how Jim Miklaszewski's voice broke when he reported from the burning Pentagon.
Most of the day is lost to me, I don't remember it at all. But I do remember my children, who could not understand what was happening in our country.
Two years after.
                                                Now, at this time every year, I look back on their childhood as 'before they understood' and 'when they started to understand' and 'when they really understood'.
Three years after.
They're old enough now to understand the grief and the terror, and I hate to see the realization grow with each passing year. It's as if I have my own personal gauge of their innocence, every year on 9/11. I think, "When this happened you didn't even notice. And now you understand that there are those who want to kill innocent people." And I hate to take that innocence from them.

 We didn't lose anyone we knew in the attack, not even a cousin-of-a-friend-of-a-classmate sort of thing. But the ripples spread outward, every year, with every child who listens a little bit closer to the people who were there.
Four years after.
 Five years after.
 Six years after.
Seven years after.
Eight years after.
Nine years after.
Ten years later.
Eleven years later.
Twelve years later.
So, I look at these pictures and I see perfect innocence, and gradual acceptance. It makes me angry that there are times when I have to explain what evil is, and how good people suffer even though they don't deserve anything bad to happen to them. And I know there are folks who don't want to bring a child into a world like that.
But in between these anniversary months, there has been a lifetime of innocence. Especially when a new baby comes into our family, we look into that sweet face, and breathe in that innocence. Because it will end, sometime.
  But for the moment, we hold them tight and glory in the kind of world they live in, where bad things don't happen to good people.
 We put down the phone and shut off the Tv. We play motorboat with their feet and talk about the apples we'll pick tomorrow.
We bundle up and stand outside, hoping for just ONE SNOWFLAKE.
We watch them fight over who gets to hold the baby now, and who is going to expire from having to wait SO long for his turn.
We wrap them in a quilt and sit in front of the open door, listening to the rain and the thunder, because although there is evil in the world, there is still innocence. We soak it up, hold it tight, breathe it in, and study the finite moments between innocence and understanding.
 And we vow to do our best to work for peace and justice in our small corner. It starts in the family. It starts between me and you.





  1. wow 2 things in common (at least!) I like fujis best too and I'm also afraid of popping bacon grease! never could stand to be the one to have to turn the bacon - so glad microwaves came along for that purpose!
    I was driving back from visiting my parents when I heard about 9-11 on the radio - had been listening to cds until about an hour from Houston when my radio stations would play clearly..didn't believe it. :-( thought at first it was like that war of the world thing that wasn't real but had everyone panicking.
    those pies look good but I"ve never tried cheese with apples even though I"d read about it in fiction books...

    1. I thought it was a movie and I couldn't figure out why the PBS station wasn't coming in right.

      I like Fujis in a limited quantity. The are SO SWEET! But delicious.

  2. Wow! I love this post! This is so true.
    (It needs a little tissue warning at the top) ;) *wipes tears*
    I was folding clothes and watching television with my toddlers as 9/11 unfolded. My husband was asleep and I had to wake him. I had to convince him that it was REALLY happening. I remember how surreal that entire day was.
    Fuji's are indeed my favorite apple. Keep the red delicious. I have to go to HEB and gather the largest organic Fuji apples I can find-That way when my yappy Pomeranian barks at me to share, there is some left for me! :) (Apples are her bacon. I know, she's weird.) lol The kids prefer the Gala. :)
    I can't wait to try these pies...with the cheddar cheese! ;)

    1. You know, it's funny how many people love Red Delicious but they taste like mush to me! Pretty apples, taste not so great.
      I love Pink Lady apples. very cidery...
      And I'm laughing at your Pomeranian!

    2. I never liked red delicious much until I bought some organic ones that were on sale at HEB - totaly different taste than the grassy tasting ones I'd gotten before. I still prefer the others - just about any of them -to red delicious...

  3. Oh, the pictures of all your children, who you know I think are the most lovely of God's creations contrasting with the horrors of the day itself.

    My sister Mary worked right across from the Pentagon. I was at a meeting when the first plane hit. We had taken a break and the tv was on in the house we met at. Growing up in DC, as soon as I realized what was happening, I left. The leader said later I was the only one who truly understood. We didn't hear from my sister for 24 hours. Longest day of my life.

    You are my quoter of the day.This is too good not to quote you.

    1. I. Can. Not. Imagine.

      I really can't. 24 hours.

      My father was working at a nuclear power plant at the time and they went into immediate lock down, so we didn't hear from him for a day, but we know they were just... sitting. Being secure.

      There is nothing like that perfect smile of a baby. Such unadulterated joy! And they give it so freely. All we have to do is love them back.

  4. Lovely stuff Virginia. I was waiting for this to post at midnight my time, waiting to drool over those apple pies you posted on FB yesterday. Then I was able to sleep when I realized the post would go up at midnight your time....and it was worth the wait. Thanks for the recipe and the wonderful pictures of your family.

    1. Um, yeah, I actually forgot to post, thanks for noticing!! HAHAHAHA!

      It was 11:30 my time and I bolted up in my chair, eyes wide. "POST! I forgot to write a POST!"

      All I can say is I was lulled into complacency by hot apple pies.

  5. Well, Virginia, you've gone and done it. I was ready to ooh and ahh over fried pies. But now I'm crying!

    What a beautiful post. Way more beautiful than a perfectly fried pie. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you and the pies are worth trying! So simple, so sweet, so fattening!

  6. Beautiful post, Virginia. Your girls look just like you.

    Your family is so fortunate to have such a mommy. You cook, you can and you go after your dreams. That's a legacy!

    I want fried pies. Now.

    1. Aww. You haven't seen my laundry room. And the kitchen sink. And my unmade bed.

      Hoping my legacy includes at least a passing nod to mopping the kitchen floor, but I'm not sure that will be in there.

  7. And out of old is your eldest and how old is your youngest. I need some yardstick for measuring why I am such a slacker compared to you.

    1. ha! Not nosey at all. If I thought it was, I would not have posted pictures of my children ALL OVER THE INTERNET! But I do keep the nakie baby photos to myself. As cute as they are, nobody wants to be haunted by their toddler bare buns showing up on their newsfeed when they're in college.

      Children are 13, 12, 10, 7, 4, 3. Farthest apart is 3 years, closest is 16 months. We survived it all. The kids are forever damaged, though.


      I whine as much as the next woman. And when someone whines about their ONE NEWBORN, I nod my head. Because a baby is a baby is a baby. I give myself a good 3 weeks to ignore the world after every birth.

    2. Oh, my gosh. I feel that I should send you care packages now. THREE and FOUR. Mutter. Mutter. Mutter.

    3. Oh, it's not so bad. When they were 18 months and 2 months, that was CRAZZZZZZY. One hyper male child running, with no balance and no idea of how to behave. The other with constant ear infections, completely helpless and ready to receive all sorts of treats like used pacifiers and suckers.

      It was a whole family effort, I'm telling you.

      Three and four is a breeze compared to those days!

  8. Very poignant, Virginia. Thank you for sharing.

  9. LOVE the fried pies! Love the kid pix! And I think we're all doing a bit of remembrance today. Sigh. Thanks, Virginia.

    1. And those pies were GOOD! I'm glad I hate hot oil. I could live on those pies....

  10. What a beautiful post, Virginia.

    My daughter really lost her childhood that day. She was in 9th grade, 4 blocks from the towers.

    This morning she texted me that she had taken time for herself to go and sit down by where she'd been in school that day. She said that now with the new building in place, it hit her how very close she'd been. I remember trying to check her school website that morning to find out what they were doing, and the absolute terror I felt when the website suddenly disappeared. I found out later it was because their server was based off the tower and it had just collapsed.

    1. OH.

      The only blessing at having this talk, year after year, is that the understanding can come slowly.

      Your daughter didn't have that luxury and her innocence was wrenched away.


  11. Mary Curry shared her story with me in NYC last month. I was blown away by the thought of my kid being that close to monumental tragedy... and of course what got us talking was because my Luke was near the finish line of the Boston Marathon this year and had left about twenty minutes or so before the bombs went off.

    Mary Curry, her perspective is through the grown up eyes of the innocent child she'd been. A different viewpoint, for sure.

    Mary Virginia (as opposed to Mary Curry) this is just a beautiful and thought-provoking way of trying to get me to eat fry pies.

    I love fried pies.

    I use my pie crust and it works wonders and it creates delicious, melt-in-your-mouth fried pies and I'm happy when I eat them!!!!

    Now I'm jonesing for a fry pie.

    I'm a little mad right now, but there is a slice of cold pizza waiting for me... Calling me... and I shall answer that call right now! Bless youse. Love youse.

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  13. (First version of this response had a scary typo. It wasn't even auto-correct!)

    You know, if I was a really bad person, I could have made this post about how we can't count on anything and we should all just eat fried pies three meals a day.

    But I don't like to lie. I don't like to diet, either, but I know good wins out and God would rather I don't blow all my arteries because there is evil in the world.

    So, deep breath, and after a few fried pies and some sad memories, we say a prayer and head back to the salads. Like eating healthy, living a peace-filled life is a whole lot of work and most of the time I'd just rather tell people where they can go (and then eat a fried pie). But I don't. Small people are watching and I must set a good example.
    And preserve the arteries. I've heard they're not really replaceable. Dang it.