Fall smells of apples to me.
Apples on trees waiting to be picked, apples baked into pies, apples covered with oats and nuts in crisps, apples turned into apple sauce.
It’s a smell, and a season that makes me think of family, and of work.
When I call my parents at this time of year, they tend to answer while they are picking and packing apples. “I packed forty bushels today,” my mother will say. “Your uncle and I picked another forty to replace that one,” my father will say. Everyone wants to eat newer varieties like Honey Crisp, but my parents and I prefer older types of apples. I’ll ask about what’s being picked, and they will rattle off varieties like Gravenstein, Paula Red, Macintosh. Varieties that should be eaten when they come off the tree, and savoured for their brief time in the sun.
Ever since I came across Rowan Jacobsen’s book, “Apples of Uncommon Character,” I’ve become obsessed with finding older varieties of apples. I ask farmers and vendors, and have some across some interesting types, apples which have wonderful spiciness, sweetness, acidity, and crunch. Fall is here. That means you should be eating apples, and good ones at that.
Fall also makes one yearn for the summer, but I will admit I was pretty happy with this summer. Pantry and Palate did well, and continued to gain momentum and mentions in the media. I was pleasantly surprised at where the book would pop up, from a review and recipe mention in local newspapers across the country like this one in the Kingston Whig Standard (by fellow food writer Lindy Mechefske) to a profile in l’Acadie Nouvelle, as well as a feature in The National Post.
Part of the interest in the book has been because of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Canada, and so people were looking to find stories about food that may have been overlooked before now. I was interviewed by Radio-Canada to talk about the role of culinary heritage, as well as on CBC about the revelations I experienced around my personal culinary heritage while writing the book.
Speaking of storytelling, I recently had the chance to shoot with the gang from The Perennial Plate. I first came across The Perennial Plate years ago when they first started telling stories about food producers in their native Minnesota. Years later, multiple world trips and a couple James Beard Awards later, it’s creators, Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine spent a month here in Nova Scotia looking into food stories in this part of the world. Stay tuned for a video this fall.
In fact, stay tuned for all sorts of goodies popping up here. I'm getting ready to do promotional work for the U.S. this fall, and who knows, maybe I'll be in your neck of the woods. Stay tuned.