Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mom's Apple Pie - A New Drink

It's an old adage that every good boy loves his mother, not least because he remembers her good cooking. Going on 50 years from leaving home, I can still recall my mom's cooking. It may only signify familiarity, since no two mothers cook exactly alike, though food and cooking traditions in post-War America tended towards sameness. It was the Betty Crocker era, the era of frozen foods and additives and the "well-rounded diet." Ethnic restaurants were very much the exception then. Fast Food took America by storm, but there have been counter currents of ethnic diversity, pure ingredients and a focus on flavor combined with health and safety. Fresh is better.

One of the things my mom liked to cook was apple pie. Since leaving home, I've never tasted apple pie that was better, richer, or which looked prettier. She used Crisco, which was a "trans-fat" product, hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Crisco was snowy white, thick and sticky, and it held its shape. As a shortening, it worked wonderfully well, and made pie-crusts that were aesthetically pleasing; they had a true crustiness that would hold up in the oven. We know of course that trans-fats are bad for you, but that wasn't known or acknowledged then. Trans-fats are identified with various health problems, including diabetes.

Nevertheless, mom's apple pies were a wonder, and I'll never forget them, trans-fats notwithstanding. Try making good piecrust with ordinary butter, and you'll see how hard it is!

So, in memory of mom, who passed away in 2008, here's a concoction which comes pretty close to mimicking the flavor of a good apple pie--without any cream or ice-cream or cheese as accompaniment. Goldschlager is a proprietary liqueur, but any similarly flavored cinnamon drink will probably suffice.

Mom wasn't much for cocktails, but she didn't get out much either. She was a homebody. Here's to moms, and home cooking, and all American desserts (mixed in the right proportion, of course).  

4 parts golden rum
1 part calvados (apple)
1 part Goldschlager (cinnamon)
1 part lemon juice
1/2 part almond vanilla syrup

--swirled in ice and served up without garnish.

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