My mother was a horrible cook.
I used to joke she thought I was a Greek god: Every meal was either a burnt offering or a sacrifice.
I learned to cook in self-defense. So I have only two or three favorite flavor memories from childhood: Wood-fired baked beans in the winter with homemade baked bread; my mother’s own concoction of Christmas pudding, her over-baked dry pumpkin pie, and something she had little to do with, hard cider. As I’ve mention in the write up about hard cider, what I remember most, besides the taste, was it was a simple, unadorned creation. Don’t misunderstand me, I like pub cider but it loses something from the tree to the pub.
I will freely admit to being a critic of today’s sterile, packaged, commercialized society. No, I am not against capitalism or technology and I am green within reason, but when it comes to food and nutrition I think our ancestors got along better without nutritionists and doctors than we do with them. And the cider somewhat typifies that.
You can make basic cider two ways, put it in a warm container in the corner and wait a while, or sterilize it, pamper it, chemical it, boil it and pump it up with artificial carbonation. That strikes me as too elaborate. I am not a Luddite, if I were I would be using a quill on parchment not a blog. But less is more, simpler is usually better. When the fall apples used to come in, that is ripen, the natural course for them was to ferment. No I am not alluding to a grand scheme of things or the Doctrine of Signatures. But what I am saying is I think nature got along fairly well without human sophistication. Cider, like wine, can be an elaborate affair, but it is not necessary. My simple cider is unadorned. It’s not complex. It’s natural and good. I find that not only appealing but comforting and delicious.