Food: Today’s recipes can come from many places
I often watch with perplexity and amazement the plethora of cooking shows that are on TV today. In fact, I recently viewed one of these programs with the same apprehension I have when I drive by a terrible car accident. I really didn’t want to look but I couldn’t help myself.
I was watching a food show where a man had 30 minutes to down a sandwich the size of a stump, two pounds of French fries and a malted milk shake served in a sand bucket. Toward the end it was painful to observe as sweat poured down his face and his breathing became labored. I’m sure his belt buckle was suffering, too.
The only food shows I remember watching as a kid were the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child. Both cooked dishes that were totally foreign to me and truthfully, I watched them solely for their flub ups; Julia drinking her wine ingredients; and the Galloping Gourmet, actually, well, galloping.
Boy, how times have changed. In fact, I think a lot of people in this day and age are totally obsessed with food, especially if you consider all the programming television has to offer on this subject. Now there are programs featuring diners, drive-ins and dives; frying contests; B-B-Q cook offs; “pioneer” woman cooking; grocery shopping races and of course the eating contest programming which always makes me queasy. Personally, I think we should have more respect for the substances that fuel our bodies but that’s another topic.
And if TV shows don’t provide enough food education, you can turn to the Internet where apps and websites demonstrate everything from how to make a pie to calorie counting to places to purchase the latest cookware. It’s mind boggling.
With all these choices and technology though, I sheepishly admit that my go-to source for many recipes is still my old Betty Crocker Cookbook which I received as a Christmas present when I was in high school, and a little wooden box stuffed with recipes that are jotted down on 3×5 cards.
In this box there are cards with my mother’s hand writing which pull at my heart when I pull them out. There are recipes from grandmas and relatives, from friends and even some I actually cut out and pasted on the cards. In a way, it’s like taking a step back in time when I pull open that box to look for a favorite recipe or meal, as if the past is calling.
And that little wooden box is where I headed when my friend Cleo called me last week and asked if I could include a recipe for apple butter in this column. I’m a big fan of apples, but it’s been many years since I’ve had this comforting concoction. But I knew, somewhere, there was a recipe in my little box for this delicious condiment. It was given to me by a favorite aunt many years ago after I had sampled her apple butter, still warm and smeared on a slice of fresh baked bread. That memory made me wonder why it has been so many years since I’ve made this wonderful spread.
After some digging, I did find the recipe that my aunt had written down on a card. She made her apple butter in a crockpot and I’ve included it for this week. Not only is this comforting food a good spread on breads or muffins but it can also be used in recipes calling for applesauce and even sometimes be substituted for oil for healthier options when making muffins, breads or cakes. It’s good mixed in with hot cereal, too.
I guess the bottom line is there are all sorts of places in this day and age to get a recipe, but for me Betty Crocker and my little wooden box are still worth a look. And I’m sure Julia and the Galloping Gourmet would agree.
10 to 12 apples, cored and chopped
2 to 3 cups sugar (depending on apple variety)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Place the prepared apples in a bowl and then add the dry ingredients. Mix well and put into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for about an hour. Reduce heat and let cook for about 8 to 10 hours, occasionally stirring. Uncover and let cook for another hour or so until the mixture becomes quite thick. Spoon into jars or containers. This apple butter can be frozen for later use. Also the amount of spices can be tweaked to taste.