COOK UP SOMETHING DELICIOUS
from Linda Lee Greene
HALLULAH! Cast-iron cooking is back on the burner of the world’s kitchens, its barbeque pits, and its campsite fires—and nothing fries up more delectably in the iconic cooker than green apples, or apples of any color, and even peaches.
Dating back to the 18th century, apple and peach orchards have been a constant feature of farm-life of my American ancestors, and of my European forebears, I imagine. Apples picked right off the tree or hauled topside from underground cellars and fried up in an iron skillet, a vessel that was passed down from mother to daughter, has been a staple of my family through those generations and to the present. Store-bought fruit will do, too, of course.
Down-Home Fried Apples & Peaches
½ cup butter6 medium unpeeled firm apples, sliced
4 very soft unpeeled peaches, sliced
¾ cup cane, coconut, or brown sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
¼ cup apple juice, 100% juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Over low heat, melt butter in a large cast-iron or heavy ovenproof skillet. Add apples and ½ cup sugar. Mix well, cover, and cook 20 minutes or until apples are fork tender. Stir frequently.
Add optional cinnamon), remaining sugar, apple juice, vanilla extract, and peach slices. Cover and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat.
Serve with iron-skillet gravy and country biscuits at main meals, or with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
The following is an excerpt of GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS, my book of historical fiction blended with my family’s actual story. The selection depicts an amusing, true incident involving apples and my mother Roma before she was my mother. A delicious recipe for fried apples and peaches rounds out this posting. Enjoy!
One of the most enchanting features of the farm was its peach and apple orchard. Disregarding the fact that green apples gave Roma the “runs,” and convincing herself that she would get away with it that time, in a fit of gluttony, she set about one hot summer morning to stuff her belly full of the sweet green teasers. Predictably, later in the day, she found herself in dire need of visiting the “path” as this family called their outhouse, whereupon she sat, for long intervals of time, for several visits in a row.
This was back in the day before fluffy white “Charmin” or any other machine-perforated-roll-perfectly-into-your-hand toilet paper came on the scene; these were the days when pages from magazines, newspapers, and the Sears & Roebuck catalog were special favorites for cleaning the backside. And when paper products ran out, corncobs would do.
This day, Sears & Roebuck were on duty, and Roma, having gone through a good portion of the catalog, pulled up her underpants, and confident her ordeal was finally behind her, pun intended, proceeded to walk to the back door of the house, the door opening onto the kitchen. She lighted into her piled-up kitchen chores, working away uninterrupted for an hour or more, enjoying that peculiar euphoria that comes to one with the release of all the toxins in one’s body, when she realized that the house was unusually quiet, a phenomenon never occurring in that filled-to-human-capacity household. Taking a mere glancing note of it, she continued to sweep away, when out of the distance she thought she heard what sounded like a snicker. She hesitated for a moment, listened, but when all was quiet again, she fell back into the rhythm of her swishing broom. But suddenly, there it was again – a snicker, then two, then three. She realized she had company in the room. She turned to look, and there they all were, all nine members of her family, snickering and pointing at her backside. Horrified, she realized what was the matter, and twisting her head to get a gander at her backside.
Like a dog chasing its own tail, Roma took off spinning around and around in the middle of the kitchen, howling like a dog, and flapping her hand at the offending article protruding from her underpants. In her haste to vacate the outhouse, the tail of her dress had caught in the waistband of her bloomers, and with it, a page from the Sears & Roebuck catalog also had fastened itself there, the page waving like a flag flapping in the breeze and ironically hailing its vivid advertisement of women underpanties.
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Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.
Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.
She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.