On Memorial Day, actual Memorial Day, I decided to bake an apple pie. What’s more American than apple pie, I thought, thinking of the patriot holiday while standing in an aisle at Fresh Foods. I was in Cannon Beach, having just come from the Memorial Day observance on the Fir Street Bridge. I took what I believe to be an amazing photo of the man who so beautifully played taps.
My intention being to cook as little food as possible (come the warmer months, I prefer to assemble, not cook) I thought how to best use what’s already in the house, which was a bag of apples. I’d bought the apples (organic) the week before with the intention of eating them all week for lunch well smeared with peanut butter, but as it turned out Mr. Sax, which is what I call my husband, kept bringing home sushi from Safeway and sometimes their fried chicken, and on the days when he didn’t bring in food, I had yogurt. I’m partial to the Oui brand by Yoplait that comes in a tiny glass jar. They call it French-style yogurt. I call it dangerously addictive, but less dangerous than gelato. I had at home brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and fancy sea salt. The only thing I didn’t have and didn’t feel like making was a pie crust. Luckily Fresh Foods carries the graham cracker and chocolate no-bake Keebler brand, so dinner, or a major part of dinner, was practically in the bag.
At Fresh Foods we also got a tin of Divina brand dolmas, aka stuffed grape leaves. I scooped up a head of hydroponically grown organic baby Bibb lettuce. Mr. Sax got some Lily’s roasted garlic hummus and considered a jar of Jeff’s Naturals garlic stuffed olives, but was advised we still had an unopened jar at home. My Gearhart friends who mostly shop at Costco tease me about our relatively bare cupboard and our commitment to not “stock up.”
For years, Mr. Sax and I were guilty of being food pack rats, keeping stores, but ever since we moved across the country, we’ve decided to live lean and loose. This is probably unwise should there be a disaster — natural or otherwise — that makes it impossible to get to Fresh Foods. The exception to this “no stocking up” rule is one item only. There is always a bounty of dried prunes.
Now back to that apple pie. After checking out of the store (the guy at the register is very droll) and driving home and unloading our modest bag of groceries and eating leftover (one day only) Safeway sushi, I tackled the pie. For people who insist on recipes, sorry, there isn’t any. The process involves cutting six very small organic apples into less-than-bite-size chunks; placing these apples into a small bowl and adding a half cup of brown sugar, several generous tablespoons of full fat butter (lately I’m preferring unsalted Kerry Gold), a dash of sea salt, several good shakes of good ground cinnamon, and stir that up. Tip this filling into the no-bake graham cracker crust crust and pouring a generous amount of pure maple syrup over the top. Cover the tin tightly with aluminum foil and pop into a 350 degree oven, the pie tin resting on a cookie pan. Go do something else like write this column for 45 minutes. Open oven, remove aluminum foil cover, and bake an additional 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow time to cool.
Enjoy apple pie for dinner even though it’s after Memorial Day and moving into berry season and all the apples are kind of old.
Eat apple pie. What could be more American?