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Apple Pie: The History of the American Symbol

Фото: Depositphotos

Before the arrival of the first settlers from the European continent, America did not know anything about apples. While the trees planted by them grew, apples appeared, methods for their storage and use were found, including the production of juices and ciders, many more years passed. By that time, various baking recipes using apples had appeared in almost all European countries. They, too, were brought to America, but by a new wave of immigrants. Tarte Tatin from France, Charlotte and Apple Strudel from Germany and Austria, Crumble from England and many others.

So which apple pie is the nation proud of? And not just proud, but considers it almost the most important expression of his identity. After all, the idiom that has taken root in the mind as American as apple pie means nothing more than an indication of something absolutely typical and customary for Americans, saying that it is “the same as apple pie”. Where does such love and affection for this product imported from faraway countries come from? And how did it get accustomed here, transformed and received nationwide recognition?

First, a few words about the apples themselves. This is a legendary fruit. Known for thousands of years, thanks to its unique taste, it has left a huge mark on world culture and history. As an "apple of temptation" when it comes to Adam and Eve and "Golden apples of eternal youth" - the apples of the Hesperides - from the eleventh feat of Hercules. Or about the "apple of discord" with the inscription - "the most beautiful", which led to the Trojan War. It is about them, as about the fruits of love, said King Solomon in the "Song of Songs": "Fortify me with wine, refresh me with apples, for I am exhausted from love."

During coronations, monarchs were awarded the so-called. The "imperial apple" is one of the main attributes of the state. The legend of William Tell, who had to shoot an apple on his son's head, is also widely known. Or the story of Isaac Newton, who discovered the law of universal gravitation when it fell from a tree on his head. Since those times, the symbolism associated with this wonderful fruit has come into use: "apple of discord", "rejuvenating apple", "eyeball", "apple", "apple from the apple tree ...", "forbidden fruit" and so on. Differing in a wide range of flavors, from sour to sweet, many peoples also identified them with beauty, love and fertility - on the one hand, and temptation and deceit - on the other. Their priority in households was then so great that all overseas fruits newly appearing on the markets were involuntarily compared with them.

So, tomato got its name from the Italian pomo d'oro, or “golden apple”. In 1765, Catherine II decided to breed "earth apples" or potatoes in Russia. And the name that came from the Netherlands is an orange (appelsien), it was just a copy from French (pomme de chine ), or literally - "apples from China". By the way, this is French apple, or an apple, was also the basis for naming a lipstick. It was invented by Cardinal Richelieu, who demanded the manufacture of fragrant ointment based on his favorite apples from his doctor. It should be noted that the symbolism associated with apples and in our time is used quite widely.

Apple Store on Fifth Avenue (Apple Store, Fifth Avenue). Photo: Depositphotos

So, New York since the 30s of the last century has been called Big Apple , or "Big Apple", and the legendary rock band The Beatles from 1968, I used it in my company logo Apple Corps. Now name Apple used by one of the most successful computer industries in the world. And their product Macintosh owes its name to one of the most popular apple varieties in the country.

Apples of America

It is believed that their true homeland are the regions of the Caucasus, Northern Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Northern Afghanistan. Therefore, the name of the capital of Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata, literally translates as: “apple father”. Be that as it may, but as the climatic conditions improved in the post-glacial period, wild plants started to spread throughout the world from here. At least in Central Europe, they were known in the Stone Age. And people began to take care of the apple as a cultivated plant about five thousand years ago, that is, in the Neolithic era.

Judging by the written sources that have come down to our time, in the Greek archipelago already 1200 years BC. e. the cultivation of apple trees was at a fairly high level. We can confidently say that by the time America was conquered, there were already several thousand of all kinds of apple varieties in the world. It is believed that their seeds were first introduced to North America by settlers from England and Holland at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. Presumably in the area of ​​"New England" and "New Amsterdam" (New York). And in the northern regions of the country and Canada - already by the French.

In those days, the main influence was given to increasing the planting areas, since the fruits of apple trees, which grew from seeds in new climatic and natural conditions, were very different from their "parents" both in appearance and in taste. Simply put - they were small, unsightly and sourish. Therefore, the success of the distribution of apple trees in a new place was problematic. It took a lot of effort from breeders to grow completely new, beautiful and delicious varieties. So the recognition of apple trees in North America was mainly due to the merits of enthusiasts who promoted them in every possible way.

So, in 1780's, Colonel Loammi Baldwin (Loammi baldwin) They gave me a try of one of the local varieties of apples, and he liked them so much that by becoming a fierce fan of them, he helped spread them in Massachusetts. Evidence of this event can be a monument installed in Wilmington, with an inscription on a pedestal: “This monument marks the place next to which a wild apple tree was discovered, giving rise to the Baldwin variety. The apple variety, first known as Butters, Woodpecker or Pecker, was then named after Colonel Loammi Baldwin of Wobern. " Staff members are also known to disseminate advanced knowledge and experience (Extension agency), who, after the First World War, helped Georgia's cotton farmers to grow apples. And when in 1924 more than half of all cotton died from an invasion of a weevil, the inhabitants of Cornelia realized that it was apples that saved their region from ruin. In honor of this event, they also erected a monument, writing on the pedestal: “Cornelia (CORNELIA) is the birthplace of the big red apple. Habersham County, Georgia. "

There is a legend that even Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, acted as a bright propagandist of apples. However, the most legendary figure of the popularization of planting apple orchards in the country is undoubtedly Johnny Apple seed (Johnny appleseed).

Folklore sources indicate that he was a man of medium height, with blue eyes and long brown hair. He was dressed in second-hand clothes donated by the settlers, but most often in a coffee sack with holes cut into it for the head and hands. For most of the year, he went barefoot, was a strict vegetarian and was portrayed with a saucepan on his head, which, in addition to its direct purpose, was used by him as a headdress. And always - with a bag of apple seeds on his back. For more than forty years, Johnny traversed the forests and prairies of Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, as well as the north of West Virginia, planting apple trees in every free area he met. Later, he took care of the growing fruit trees, and also taught the farmers the culture of growing apples.

It is believed that the monument, erected in his honor (south of Dexter City, Ohio), is fully lined with stones brought by residents of those US towns where Johnny planted apple seeds.

He was a real man.who became a legend in America. His name was John Chapman (John Chapman) and he was born in 1774, in Leominster (Mass.), in the family of a poor farmer. It is assumed that at first John was a successful businessman. The fact is that in those times new settlers could receive land free of charge only on condition that they grew a garden on it for three years. And Chapman found free areas in advance, cleared them and planted apple seeds there. A few years later, the apple trees grown there were selling to the settlers. However, he soon either went bankrupt, or this business bored him, and John became a vagabond who devoted the rest of his life to growing apples.

But where did he take apple seeds in such a huge amount? The fact is that initially the new settlers hardly ate apples, as they were not tasty. Most often they used them to produce apple ciders. On farms and farms where these drinks were made, the bones of apples were simply thrown away after squeezing. That's what Johnny was collecting in his bags.

The invention of ciders is associated with the name of Charlemagne. One night, the emperor, deciding to eat and not wanting to wake the servants, went down to the basement, where he stumbled and fell on a bag of overripe apples. Having tasted the resulting juice, he was delighted. Allegedly, since then, in Normandy, Brittany and other places where huge apple orchards grew, they began to cultivate this drink, while saying: "Drink apple wine every day and diseases will pass you." And the secrets of its preparation were brought to America by the British, who accordingly borrowed them from the Normans. There were no special rituals for cider consumption. Let's say, as in other places, pour it from the height of an outstretched hand into a glass of thin glass, but so that an elegant trickle breaks on its bottom, forming foam. And at the end - throw out the sediment directly on the floor. Here it was a common drink used to quench thirst. After all, the water quality in nearby bodies of water was so low that the early settlers used cider as a common drink to quench their thirst. Even small children drank it. And adults consumed from half a liter to a liter per day.

But sometimes they needed stronger drinks. Then, in the process of fermentation of apples sugar, yeast or alcohol was added, and then the drink immediately increased the degrees. Sometimes it was well cooled, and then the ice crust formed was removed. Thereby increasing the alcohol content. These drinks will later be called Apple wine, or Apple jack.

Фото: Depositphotos

However, the most prestigious apple drink in the country is still considered Calvados, the manufacturing technology of which was also, through the British, borrowed from the Normans. It was for the manufacture of one of the versions of this drink that the first license in the USA was issued. She got a winery Laird & Company in New Jersey, back in the 1780 year. But it will still be a long time before Calvados turns into a “dream drink”, which “... do not drink, but inhale, as it were,” covered with the aura of that special romantic flair that only genius Erich Maria Remarque could create. Although it should be noted that Ernst Hemingway spoke no less enthusiastically about this wonderful drink. As Commissioner Megre, favorite hero of Georges Simenon, correctly noted: “We have our own habits ... In the evening we drink Calvados ...”.

It should be noted that the attachment to strong alcoholic beverages increased more and more not only among famous writers. The cider grew stronger and stronger, turning into apple brandy. Its production began to increase more and more, and widespread drunkenness became an increasing problem. So the innocent apple again became the embodiment of temptation - as in the Garden of Eden. It began to solder the nation. Prohibition enthusiasts threatened to cut down the gardens. Thank God that alcoholic drinks were made not only from apples. But thanks to the "Prohibition" introduced in 1920, apple consumption fell sharply. Naturally, entrepreneurs responded to this by increasing the production of juices, kvass, jelly, compotes, sauces and vinegars, as well as preserves, jams, marmalade, marshmallows, mousses, purees and jellies.

Increasingly began to produce so-called. "Dry jam". Often they simply took the apples out of the jam and dried them. candied fruits. If sprinkled with sugar, they were called fruits candis. And if the “lacquered fruit” was covered with syrup and dried again, then they turned into fruits glaces. But that is not all. After all, this is the time when the finest hour comes for culinary products using apples. Stage on the stage

Apple Pies

We can not say that they did not do before. On the contrary, it is believed that already the first confectionery products of the colonists, which were baked on the basis of stale bread, were covered with apples. But there, where the volume of production increased sharply, a new quality was sure to manifest itself. And then, entrenched in consciousness, turn into the famous "American apple pie". But what special qualities can we talk about, even if the Wikipedia chapter about the American pie describes in detail the Dutch, English and Swedish recipes. But there are still Austrian, German, Italian, Japanese, etc. Each new wave of immigrants brought with them the national secrets of the production of apple pies.

The simplest of them was Swedish. There, on an ordinary pie, beautifully sliced ​​apple slices were placed on top and baked all this together.

Its French modification is somewhat more complicated, intricate and tastier - Tarte Tatin. Stephanie Tatin, one of the owners of a French hotel and restaurant, once hurried so much that she forgot to put the cake on the bottom of the mold and, in order not to redo the pastries, just covered the caramelized apples from above. When the cake was baked, it had to be put on the plate upside down. Its customers liked this product so much that they started ordering it again and again, and soon fame Tarte Tatin stepped over the borders of the country.

French Pie Tarte Tatin. Photo: Depositphotos

Curious and the story of the emergence of English Crumble. During World War II, due to the acute shortage of flour, butter and sugar, local housewives began to cover the fruit not with a solid cake, but crumbs of dough.

English apple pie "Crumble". Photo: Depositphotos

The novelty turned out to be so tasty that Crumble is popular until today, although England no longer has a shortage of products for making pies.

“Charlotte” has a great popularity in the world. At the same time, there are as many recipes for her preparation as there are options regarding her name. However, roughly speaking, the preparation of this cake is based on the fact that slices of bread soaked in a syrup of cooked fruit, wine, melted butter, or a mixture of eggs and milk are placed in the form of layers. Between them the apples cut into slices are stacked, and all this is again covered with bread slices from above. Sometimes they were laid out not in layers, but along the bottom and along the walls of the mold, filling the middle with fruit, and then baking it all together.

The Austrian or, more correctly, the Viennese Apple Strudel stands somewhat apart in this kingdom of apple cakes. The fact is that this is not a traditional pie or cake, but a roll. And to roll it together with finely chopped thin slices of apples, you need a special flour with a high content of gluten, so that the dough was elastic. At the same time, the real masters should roll it so thinly that through it one could read all the headlines in the morning newspaper that had just arrived.

But this is not all "cake differences." After all, these products differ from each other more and test. It can be sandy, biscuit, yeast, flaky, exhaust, honey, cottage cheese, sour cream, sweet and anything else. So the Viennese Strudel is made from puff or puff pastry. Biscuit dough is used for airy inverted pies and "charlottes", while traditional Russian apple pies are baked from yeast.

Apples themselves naturally also have differences: both depending on the varieties used and on the degree of their preparation and preparation: raw apples are sliced ​​or sliced, grated raw apples, canned, apple jam or jam, stewed or dried apples. In addition, they can also be combined with various additives - raisins, nuts, dried fruits, jam, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon or ginger. And finally, apple filling can be supplemented with various creams, cottage cheese, jam, marzipan and even praline.

Фото: Depositphotos

But back to our American pie, or as it is called here American Apple Pie. It would seem that in general it was possible to choose something concrete in this infinite variety of options and combinations, national habits and preferences? Nevertheless, having tried all sorts of variations of making apple pies, by the method of trial and attempt, in the end, an optimal solution was found. What was it? The fact that this product began to make a solid and consisting of two cakes made from simple shortcrust pastry. In this case, the bottom cake was laid on the bottom and side surfaces of a special corrugated form. for pie approximately 9 inches in diameter, or any equivalent.

Then it was filled with the most important part of the pie - a thick layer of apples, cut into thin slices or small slices. Of the spices in the filling, cinnamon is required, but it is also allowed to add nutmeg, lemon juice and some other spices. The crust used to cover the cake is usually smooth and laid over the apples. At the same time, its edges are neatly pinched with the lower cake at the upper border of the form. It is also possible to make the top cake in the form of a grid of dough strips. Often the cake is served garnished with cream, custard, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then they call him apple pie a la mode.

In order to more specifically understand these subtleties, it is best to visit the traditional “Days of Apples” (February 20), where workshops and exhibitions are often held, and the most the best cooks demonstrate their art under the motto: everything is simple, fast to produce, and most importantly - very tasty. No wonder they, along with pumpkin pies, in many American families are served on Thanksgiving Day. And what else can complete the meal after the traditional turkey, when the whole family is going to the house?

So gradually, apple pie became so firmly embedded in every American home that it actually became an integral part of it. It is easy to imagine a boy living in "one-story America" ​​and flying into the house in the evening: tired, running over, agitated, barely having time to wash, and immediately rushing to the table. Quickly swallowing soup and barely chewing meat, waiting for the main course - apple pie. And now my mother carefully cuts it into elongated triangles. This is not at all what the neighbors had the day before yesterday: the cakes break, the apples sprawl and they need to be picked with a spoon. Our mother is always doing great. And already asleep, in bed, he feels her bending over him to straighten the blanket and kiss on the cheek. And her hands still smell like apples and cake, and its crumbs are still on her lips and in her mouth. And it all merges into one whole: pie, mom, home, family, happy childhood, reliability and well-being, friends and neighbors, city, state, and of course, country. And one can understand the young men who found themselves far from home, on the battlefields of the Second World War, who, when asked what values ​​they have to defend here and what is worth fighting for, answered: “for mom and apple pie”. After that, can there be any doubt that he is a real symbol of America.

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