Apple dishes that graced the Henry table in the month of October include cranberry apple crisp, cinnamon applesauce, apple pie with splash of lemon (and a splash of rye whiskey on the crust), apple compote made with orange juice, and at nearly every meal sliced fresh apples for dessert.
Johnny Appleseed, that great American (and yes, he was a real man), sowed seed down the Ohio River. Because his apple trees bore gnarly, sour little things, their principal use was for making hooch, a habit long lost in the 21st century. Today’s Calvados is too expensive and apple brandy is too rough.
Most persons of Mr. Henry’s acquaintance no longer prepare alcoholic beverages at home, but Mary and Michael made some up in the Catskills. They threw apples in a big metal bucket, let them rot, and cooked it up. The resulting clear, very alcoholic firewater was delicious but very hot, hot enough to trade with Indians in exchange for pelts.
After drinking this particular firewater for a good while, Mr. Henry began to see more clearly. The apple’s significance took on new meaning, or else its meaning took on new significance. It’s hard to recall. As the serpent said to Eve, the apple is the fruit of knowledge.
It’s not only the fruit of fall, it’s the fruit of the fall from grace.
But isn’t a good apple worth the trip?