Hard Cider has quite the colorful history here in America; in fact, during Colonial times in the Eastern States, Cider was more popular than beer, wine or whiskey. It was far more difficult to grow grains for beer than it was to grow apples so seeds were brought over from England, orchards were established and cider-making was as popular here as it was in England. By the mid-1800s, the New England states were producing nearly 300,000 gallons of cider every year.
Musical pairing – Winter Song by Sara Bareilles (with Ingrid Michaelson)
As a child, I remember my mother canning tomatoes, making grape juice in jars, putting up pickles, freezing green beans and corn and making jams; in fact most families did because we lived in a rural town surrounded by the Blue mountains and farms. Everyone gardened during the summer months and fruits and vegetables were seasonal – meaning that apples were in the stores in the fall and strawberries were in the produce aisles during the summer – ‘year-round’ produce wasn’t available. So we canned or preserved what we could get our hands on while it was in season.
Musical pairing – I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but I’m here to tell you that a recipe or a meal is also worth a thousand words. For some, that dish might be a special birthday cake, cinnamon rolls or bread; to others it might be a meatloaf, pot roast or onions and garlic sauteing in a skillet. A particular scene in Ratatouille captures this point so well – the hardened, stoic, food critic Anton Ego, takes a bite of Remy’s simple Ratatouille and the audience is immediately transported back to Ego’s childhood home where the boy Anton is served ratatouille while being comforted by his mother.
One of my favorite memories as a child was pizza night – which is crazy now that I think about it because my mom made it with sliced deli meat salami, black olives, canned mushrooms and shredded mozzarella cheese that she grated on a box grater – there was no such thing as pre-shredded cheese in those days (and no, I did not ride a horse to school or live in a Little House on the Prairie).