19 Mar 2009

Apple sauce

"Say, Betsy, I think that apple sauce is ready to be sweetened. You do it, will you? I've got my hands in the biscuit dough. The sugar's in the left-hand drawer in the kitchen cabinet."

"Oh, my! " cried Betsy, dismayed. "I don't know how to cook!"

Aunt Abigail laughed and put back a strand of curly white hair with the back of her floury hand. "You know how to stir sugar into your cup of cocoa, don't you?"

"But how much shall I put in?" asked Elizabeth Ann, clamoring for exact instruction so she wouldn't need to do any thinking for herself.

"Oh, till it tastes right," said Aunt Abigail, carelessly. "Fix it to suit yourself, and I guess the rest of us will like it. Take that big spoon to stir it with."

Elizabeth Ann took off the lid and began stirring in sugar, a teaspoonful at a time, but she soon saw that made no impression. She poured in a cupful, stirred it vigorously, and tasted it. Better, but not quite enough. She put in a tablespoonful more and tasted it, staring off into space under bended brows as she concentrated her attention on the taste. It was quite a responsibility to prepare the apple sauce for a family. It was ever so good, too. But maybe a little more sugar. She put in a teaspoonful and decided it was just exactly right!

"Done?" asked Aunt Abigail. "Take it off, then, and pour it out in that big yellow bowl, and put it on the table in front of your place. You've made it; you ought to serve it."

"It isn't done, is it?" asked Betsy. "That isn't all you do to make apple sauce !"
"What else could you do?" asked Aunt Abigail.

"Well . . . !" said Elizabeth Ann, very much surprised. "I didn't know it was so easy to

"Easiest thing in the world," said Aunt Abigail gravely, with the merry wrinkles around her merry old eyes all creased up with silent fun.

Betsy by Dorothy Canfield

Does everybody who reads Betsy make apple sauce?
Does everybody who reads The Boxcar Children cook stew?

I'm afraid we answer 'yes' to both questions. What does that mean? Apart from the fact that we read both of these books before lunch, I mean.

Anyhow, as I ponder the meaning of this profound thought, here's our recipe:

Jemimah's Apple Sauce

Get some apples - half a dozen or so.
Wash 'em and cut'em into quarters.
Cook with enough water to stop them sticking to the saucepan.
When they're soft, push them through a food mill or sieve.
Add lemon juice and sugar to taste, along with a teaspoon of butter.
Pour them into a bowl - preferably yellow.

Delicious with roast pork, but pretty good with icecream too!


  1. Mmmmyummy.

    Yes, we do the same! I think I gained five pounds while cooking through the Little House books. We just found the Laura Ingalls Cookbook at a used-bookstore in Iowa which will come in handy as we still have five to finish.

  2. Oh Aunt Frances! Yes, apple sauce is mandatory--like Thunder Cake is mandatory when you read that one! Here's a link to the Nature Study pictures I gave up and posted just for Jemimah:

  3. Jemimah: you can find the "wildlife" pictures here: http://icanhascheezburger.com/


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