As Simple As Apple Pie

Food universally is a language. Just like communication and speaking within a culture is a learned form of behavior and interaction, so is the process of cooking and preparation of food. Culturally it sets one group apart from another. The foundational roots can be determined by way of what eat and by way of what you cook. From the north to the south in America in itself is a great example of this art. Relational Differences are the relatives’ parts of household-to-household or generation-to-generation of food recipes pasted down.

My grandmother would have us, her grandchildren; pick apples from an apple tree in her backyard. Days, hours, minutes later, we would have the best tasting apple pie that ever did exist. Now, I have tasted plenty of apple pies in my day, never one that tasted quite like my grandma’s. I wished I had learned that recipe from her before she passed. I never did, nor did I learn to make the jam and the other preserves she did so well. She kept them in her laundry room storage pantry and store them as she was preparing for our future winter needs (Which was never a necessity). Now, my grandmother was not a homemaker, I don’t think she ever was, my grandmother was a nurse, full time and very active outside of home. Yet, the one thing she took from her culture and her lifestyle was cooking. She had the ability to make these items from generation to generation teach them on to her children…(my dad, an only child never did make an apple pie for us. So most of my cultural cooking experiences comes from my mom and the memories of my dad made breakfasts, yet no apple pie) The structuralism that comes from food in relation to culture can even be found in memories. The things that shape and alter the elements of our social structure and shifts our ideology on it.

I relate this cultural reference to that of Robinson Crusoe, though this young man defied everything in him to leave his family for what was brewing in his heart and in his soul, he had everything that could go wrong and hinder the idea of the lifestyle he was looking into finding in hisself, he knew going home was not an option (Defoe P.15) “As to going Home, Shame opposed the best Motions that offered to my Thoughts; and it immediately occurr’d to me how I should be laugh’d at among the Neighbours, and should be asham’d to see, not my Father and Mother only, but every Body else……That they are not asham’d to sin, and yet are asham’d to repent; not asham’d of the Action for which they ought justly to be esteemed Fools, but are asham’d of the returning, which only can make them be esteem’d wise Men. In this State of Life however I remained some time, uncertain what Measures to take and what Course of Life to lead.” (P.15)

Crusoe is afraid of failure most so from returning home to his family after the urgency he took to defy everyone and go, yet he is struggling to find his self, eventually he does. Crusoe’s motive to get to sea and his natural inclination are radical at best for he is not blessed upon by his culture with is decisions. Does not change his taste for the foods he has grown to know and eat. Robinson Crusoe’s had no intention of ever living that safe life his parents urged him to take on yet he never lost home in his heart like most people. He never losses that which is installed in him, no one does, especially with food-hence are culture of food and taste. He never looses the classism of what he has fundamentally been established in his easy living of life which his family has more than once emphasized he could have. When he gets into the trenches the very thing that comes back to his way of living is what he grew up knowing…like making apple pies. The bread pot is rooted in his culture a staple part of his eating habits not matter how far or how is assembled he is from his own civilization. All the while proving to his self he is no failure. Crusoe’s self preservation P.168 Crusoe influenced with classism and his only respect to food between he and his salvage partner are his and his alone.

“It would seem that the methodological principle which inspires such distinctions is transposable to other domains, notably that of cooking which, it has never been sufficiently emphasized, is with language a truly universal form of human activity: if there is no society without a language, nor is there any which does not cook in some manner at least some of its food.” (P. 28 Culinary Triangle)


2 thoughts on “As Simple As Apple Pie

  1. I liked how you connected your own experiences to the one told in the story. I think we can all tell a story of a fond memory in which a loved one is cooking for us. These memories will stay with us forever, at least for me they will. I’ve grown up around German cooking and it will forever be my favorite culinary tradition, solely based on the fact it brings back great memories. For some reason though I can never recreate the taste exactly, it’s something that includes not only the food but the experience. So I think it’s interesting that you say we will never forget food and that we can find strength in food. But my question is; is it the food we find strength in or is it the memories and feelings a meal brings with it that encourage us to continue? Or is it the traditions laid out by families before us that we feel the need to continue and in that find a reason to continue?

    wc 172

  2. I, too, did compare food to Robinson Crusoe, but for a different reason. I thought it was interesting reading your comparison about leaving his family for what he wanted in his heart and soul to food. I really liked your apple pie comparison towards the end about when he gets down in the trenches the thing that keeps him alive is the knowledge of what he grew up knowing, like you with your grandmother’s pie. This can be said for other foods as well. Any type of food that you have grown up making or eating becomes engraved in your soul and being. Food is the heart of every culture and most families, making specific things mean other things. This can also relate to someone else’s post about his regret when he gets into trouble. Food is a comfort thing, so when someone goes through troubles they rely on something that makes them feel comfortable.

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