You just never know when and where you might learn something interesting about food.
I’d heard of mock apple pie, but never really gave it much thought. Until, that is, I ran across a recent article in Chemical & Engineering News Weekly, when I was looking for information on online recruitment advertising for my day job. The article was written by Faith Hayden, so we share a first name in addition to interests in food and journalism.
I was fascinated to read that because our senses are surprisingly limited, a simple concoction of butter crackers, table salt, cream of tartar, and sugar, can fool us into thinking we are tasting apples. Read the article online for the chemical formulas – a scientist I am not.
Ms. Haley refers us to another site that describes the origins of this recipe during a time when pioneer women did not have access to fresh apples, or if they did, they cost a small fortune. The recipe originally called for soda crackers, brown sugar, water, citric acid and cinnamon. The recipe resurfaced during the Great Depression, which is maybe why we’re reading about it again now. When Ritz® crackers came along in 1934, the recipe was adapted to its present day version pictured here, made with buttery crackers.
Give this one a try with the kids!
Faith, I remember this was still ‘the rage’ in the Midwest (one of the reasons I fled… – gastronomy-central that was not!), when I left for Manhattan ten days after college graduation. This pie was then called Ritz Cracker Pie and Midwesterners swore they couldn’t tell the difference. Indeed, it was Depression food, so it will probably enjoy new popularity now. Time to reissue MFK Fisher’s How To Cook a Wolf! Carolyn