We’re not talking technology here, rather that red, round, pomaceous relative of the rose, inaccurately reputed to be the original temptation accountable for the loss of Paradise. It’s true. Translations delved into reveal that biblical allusions refer only to a “fruit”. Poetic license and careless storytelling seem to be responsible for centuries of potential libel. The bible does however, record the lovesickness of the young woman asking for the comfort of apples in the Song of Solomon.
The apple tree, its fruit, its legends, myths and tall tales are woven throughout American, Arabian, Breton, Chinese, English, German, Greek, Irish, Kazakhstani, Norse, Roman and Scandinavian folklore. Western cultural references and images include: an apple a day, golden apples of the sun, apple polishers, forbidden fruit, upset carts, apple blossom time, apples and oranges, one bad apple, Adam’s apple, William Tell and as American as apple pie. Apple Annie’s shiny apple in A Pocket Full of Miracles hilariously produced good fortune. The beautiful but evil Queen, stepmother of Sleeping Beauty, concocted a poison apple that sent her stepdaughter into a coma of a hundred years.
The apple tree has led a long and nomadic life. A Kazakhstani folk tale tells of a young man entrusted with gold to buy seeds for a great garden. His compassion compelled him to purchase the freedom of miserably treated exotic birds. In gratitude, they dug a hole and planted an exquisite garden with an apple orchard. All apple varieties can trace their ancestry to the great grandames of Kazakhstan.
Apple seedlings made their way from Kazakhstan south into the fertile plain between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers where they then hitched a ride with trade caravans east and westward bound. The apple made a blushing appearance in Homer’s Odyssey. A 6th C BC Chinese diplomat recorded propagation of apple trees through grafting and, despite the charming tales of the American itinerant preacher, Johnny Appleseed, today most apple propagation is achieved through grafting.
The air in these parts has turned as crisp and enticing as the apples. There may be wood smoke in the air in the not too distant future. Sometimes I feel so sorry for people who live in single season places. Oh surely they tout their own environment. For me the seasonal changes, their anticipation and fulfillment are a comfort. Along with the apples. Normandy is a region in which apples play a very influential part in the cuisine, Calvados, apple custards and torts and ciders. Today we’ve got an updated take on a famous dish called Chicken Normandy. The website has many apple recipes, everything from Apple Soup and Apple Cheddar Cheese Pie to Apple Maple Bread Pudding and Sweet Potato Apple Gratin, scroll through and see what tickles your fancy.