Apples, of course, can be enjoyed any time of the year, but here, they’re always a lovely sign of autumn. Groceries will move them to the front of the store, featuring them in their awesomeness, next to piles of squash. One of my favorite apple treats as a kid were caramel apples, the sweet and awesome taste was amazing, assuming biting into one didn’t remove a tooth. As I grew older, apple pie became my favorite apple offering. As much as this dessert is supposed to be about featuring apples, it’s really the crust that makes or breaks it for me. And last, but not least is the delectable drink known as apple cider. Here in the states, cider isn’t typically an alcoholic drink as it is in most parts of the world. It’s just an often cloudy, unfiltered and unsweetened version of apple juice. When Philippe came here from Paris he was suitably confused as to why such a drink was packaged as cider. “It’s just apple juice,” he’d say and I would have to feebly explain why, no, it’s extra special. It didn’t really work, as I have a list of memories that go along with this drink to artificially enhance its flavor that he did not. Sometimes, things are only special because of the memories that come with them.
Each year when I was a kid, and still today, a local cider mill would release their cider and I would insist my mother get it for us. It didn’t take much prodding as she enjoyed it as well. What seemed like a perfectly magical flavor was mostly because it was just made of apples. No weird chemicals or sweeteners to screw up the naturally amazing flavor. Just pressed apple goodness! I loved it! I actually never tried the alcoholic version until I visited Paris for the first time. I didn’t mind it, but it was like a beer that was too sweet and lacking something entirely. Perhaps, just the memories. And also, if I’m going to bother with the calories of something like that, I’d prefer to get a higher bit of alcohol in the process, so I just stick with wine. And when it comes to apples, I far prefer them in their natural form. As I’m typing this, Philippe just sliced one and offered me a slice. Hold a moment… crunch… yep, that’s still one of my favorite ways to eat an apple.
Once again, I’ve typed away without knowing what, or even if, there’s actually a point I’m attempting to make. I guess, in the end, it’s that when it comes to food, the experience you have while eating it is one of the most important ingredients. It’s the one that has the potential to take any meal and make it perfectly phenomenal. I’ve just had a bit of toasted cauliflower and some pasta, with a dessert of apple slices. Philippe is spinning tunes on Spotify and currently regaling me with the soundtrack to the movie Bridesmaids. A soundtrack full of memories from my youth that makes me smile. Wilson Phillips is blaring on insistently about how you need to hold on for one more day, and things will go your way. A college anthem for me as I was digging in my couch cushions looking for loose change. So many memories bouncing into one another and yet, ending with just a slice of one of my favorite fruits. And perfectly transforming what I thought it meant to enjoy an apple a day.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Ultramarine Blue, and Payne’s Gray. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.