We’d gather cans of tender peaches and pears, and bunches of tart green grapes. A glass bowl, with smooth sides and curved edges would await the salad. The grapes would be halved. Then, we would carefully dig into each one, removing the tiny seeds. Then the grapes would be dropped into the bowl, with pears, peaches and fiery flashes of maraschino cherries. Someone older than I – my grandmother, perhaps – would stir the mixture with a large wooden spoon, making rhythmic circle motions around the perimeter. Then aluminum foil would seal the top, patted and crinkled to fit the lip of the bowl. Into the refrigerator overnight the fruit salad would go. At the last minute before serving, sliced bananas being tossed in to prevent them from browning.
Then would come dessert, glorious dessert. Two or three pies would wait, apple, pumpkin, sometimes pecan or cherry. But I only had eyes for the pumpkin.
Thanksgiving was a day for simple indulgence, for giving thanks for the gifts we had – family, love, intelligence. The table would overflow with food prepared with but one objective: feeding a family. They say that preparing food with love makes it taste so much better. Whoever ‘they’ is, they are right.
yields one pie
1 good quality deep dish pie crust (I like Oronoque Farms)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
dash of salt
8 cups peeled and sliced apples (about 1/4 inch thick)
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup firm butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in apples.
Pour apple combination into the pie crust, making them slightly higher in the center than on the sides. Sprinkle vanilla over the top of the pie.
Place pie in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar for the crumb topping. Cut in the butter and mix until crumbly.
Remove pie from the oven and sprinkle crumb topping over the apples. Place pie back in the oven and cook for an additional 30-35 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm…with vanilla bean ice cream.