Grunt, Buckler, Crisp and Crumble. Add some Cobblers and Pan-dowdies. Betties. We mustn’t leave out the Betties. These are the Goldie-Oldies of the fruit and butter and flour, baked in a dish but not quite a pie, classic New England treats.
These ‘Olde-Thymie’ treats just aren’t as oldie as they like to pass themselves off as. But, since they’re now nearing their centennial….well, I guess they’re old at last!
Welcome to the Colonial Revival! When the New Fashion was to be old-fashioned even though you’re new…..Old Days Old Ways the way they never were…rather like the Bi-Centennial…..we just never stop reinventing the past.
I can’t remember not knowing cobblers, and crisps and crumbles…..and knowing there was some extensional difference between them even if I couldn’t articulate it.But I remember quite clearly when I first heard about Apple Slump – The summer between third and fourth grade.
The Christmas before Aunt Eileen (Grampy’s only sister) had given me several brown paper bags FULL of books. She felt it was important to have books on hand, before you thought you could be ready for them, lined up and ready for you when you were ready for them. Chapter books. Book with more words then picture books. And one of them was :
And – I’d seen the movie! Twice!
I’ve since seen the 1994 – of course!
Anyhow, I must have looked Louisa May Alcott up in the encyclopedia…that’s a big set of books we used to go to to find stuff out before the internet…..and found out that she called her house Apple Slump.Actually, the house was named Orchard House – Apple Slump was it’s nickname. A house with a pet name!
The first food Apple Slump reference is in a Salem MA newspaper 2 years before Louisa’s birth
20 November 1830, Salem (MA) Observer, pg. 2, col. 3:
The pumpkin pies and apple slump, bacon and plum-pudding, were smoking on the table, when the old gentleman, gathering round him his smiling guests, said grace in the following manner: “May God bless us, and what is provided for us.”
And LMA left a recipe for Apple Slump –
Pare, core and slice 6 apples and combine with one c(up). sugar, 1 t(easpoon) cinnamon, and 1/2 c. water in a saucepan. Cover and beat to boiling point. Meanwhile sift together 1 1/2 c. flour, t t/4 t. salt and 1 1/2 t. baking powder and add 1/2 cup milk to make a soft dough. Drop pieces of the dough from a tablespoon onto apple mixture, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 min. Serve with cream.”
—John F. Mariani. Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, (p. 297)
And then there’s pandowdies….