I just clicked the "new post" button for the first time in over a month. It scared me.
But here I am, back and hopefully better than ever. Which brings me to my very important topic: apple butter.
I first heard of apple butter several years ago in, of course, a book. One of my favorite books, actually-- Weeping Willow by Ruth White. The main character, Tiny, invites her city friends to visit her modest holler and make apple butter with her neighbors. I've read the book so many times (I've had it for over ten years), I could probably do it myself. Peel, core, add spices, boil to perfection. But until recently I had never tried or even seen it.
Skip back to Monday: a work friend and I both had the day off and felt like some adventure, so we drove to the outskirts of town to test our navigation skills at Jacob's Corn Maze. It was as true to October as any day can get: chilly, windy, waffling between warm sunshine and precarious clouds. We spent a couple hours twisting, turning through corn stalks; laughing at ourselves; jumping with joy when we found one of the trail markers. We finished the first two mazes, then decided to skip the third and buy some cider and donuts in the barn.
Lining the barn walls were shelves of canned goods, preserved right there on the farm. I scanned the rows of jams, coffees, snacks. Strawberry jam, blackberry jam, freshest coffee I've ever smelled. My eyes fell upon the apple butter, and I thought of Tiny and her friends, having the grandest time behind Aunt Evie's shack. I have a habit of buying things that remind me of books, and this was no exception.
I ate so much at dinner on Monday and had to rush to work the next morning, it wasn't until Tuesday evening that I had a chance to sample my prize. I had no idea (and still don't) as to what one does with apple butter. I decided to treat it like a similarly named food: peanut butter. So I popped some bread in the toaster, slathered it on the toast, and took a bite. My first wonderful, glorious bite. I have mixed feelings on apples (I think it's a textural issue), but this was, without question, simply amazing. If my tongue had knees, they would have gone weak.
I have now eaten it multiple times a day for the last several days. My jar is half empty, I suspect another trip to the farm is in order. Perhaps I could even splurge on a jar of my favorite-- blackberry jam.