Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apples and Aprons

    As I mentioned yesterday, writing about my parents and looking through old pictures and recipes has been such wonderful therapy but I did not expect to uncover some wonderful discoveries that have been right under my nose for years! I would like to share one of those discoveries today.
    I am participating in Elizabeth's most adorable, Apron Pocket Swap and while working on my pockets the other night, I was reminiscing about how my Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother always wore aprons when they were preparing a meal.

I don't have a single apron that belonged to one of these women so I thought I would try and find some pictures of them wearing aprons and in the process made a wonderful discovery! Here is a picture of my Mom and Dad.

I love this picture!  What was my Dad whispering in my Mom's ear to make her giggle so?

And this stern looking woman is my Great, Great Grandmother Mary.

Obviously I never knew her but I don't know who looks meaner, her or that cat, LOL! But what a fabulous apron she is wearing!
This next picture is my amazing discovery. Shortly before my Mom passed away, she gave me a large envelope with photo copies of old family pictures. The picture above and the next picture were two of those photos. I remember glancing at them and then casting them aside during the hectic, stressful months that would soon follow when my parents passed away. I absolutely love this photo because it gives a little glimpse into what everyday life must have been like for these women.

This photo had a handwritten note beside it and made note that the women were making Apple Butter and was an annual event in the fall. The woman standing to the left is my Great Grandmother Wilhelmina, the woman seated her sister and the woman standing behind the children is my Great, Great Grandmother Mary, the same woman pictured in the photo with the cat. It is not known who the children are but could be my Great Uncles Tony and Wib. Now here is my amazing discovery. Many years before they passed away, my parents gave me a few family antiques. Coincidentally, most of them belonged to my Great Grandmother Wilhelmina. Among the items was a very old large pot and a brown crock. I don't know for sure but the pot I now possess could be the very same pot pictured above! What do you think?

Now the crock I'm only speculating but I do know that these women stored the apple butter they so painstakingly made in crocks before canning jars were made commercially.

Since this crock has a lid, could this have been one of the crocks used to store their apple butter? We'll probably never know.
Now one more mystery, I remember eating homemade apple butter as a child but when I looked in Mom's recipe box, I found two recipes for apple butter but neither appeared to be the old family recipe. I will definitely have to ask my Aunt if she has the recipe! But, I did find a very old, handwritten recipe for Apple Dumplings and I'm pretty sure this was my Paternal Grandmother's recipe. I remember my Mom making these and they were wonderful! Why have I never made these myself? Well, at any rate, since it is apple season, and in honor of my Mom, here is a very, treasured family recipe. If anyone makes these, I would love to know what you think!

Apple Dumplings
2-1/4 Cup Flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 Cup Shortening
5 Tbsp. water
Sift the flour and salt together
Cut in the shortening
Add the water and mix
Roll out 1/8" thick and cut into 7 inch squares.
Apples & filling:
Nice baking apples (sorry, it didn't say what kind or how many, I know they were red and there were at least 5)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Peel and core apples then place each apple on a square of the dough. Fill each apple with the sugar/cinnamon mixture then top each apple with 1 Tbsp. of butter. Pull sides of dough up and over top of apple overlapping and pinching together the ends. Place in a lightly greased baking dish.
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
2 Cups Water
Boil for 3 mins stirring till sugar is dissolved.
Pour Syrup over the apples and bake. (sorry, it doesn't say at what temp or for how long! I would guess 350 degrees for 30 mins?)


  1. Dear Nan, these pictures are so precious... love the one of your mom and dad....so sweet!

  2. What a fun post, I do love aprons! That picture of your mom and dad is wonderful, I hope you have it out for everyone to see. I don't think your great great grandmother could be too stern if she enjoyed holding a kitty. :) I think the pot could be the same one, how neat is that?!

  3. Hi Nan!
    Oh! I came over to say hello and thank you so much for your continuing to post on my blog (and tell me what on earth India Relish is!) although I am not doing a very good job of replying these days (worlds longest sentence!) and found this lovely and sweet tribute to your family.
    I'm so very sorry and saddened to hear of your loss of both your parents! I lost my brother and then my mother, nine months apart. I am heartbroken for you to hear you lost them together. I know I have felt lost at sea ever since, it was a devastating blow and I too, felt it like a body blow.
    Oh! My fraternal grandmother made an applesauce cake with a brown sugar glaze and I've been hunting for the recipe and can't find it anywhere. Makes me so sad. I would especially love to make it for my almost 92 year old father.
    Please know I'm thinking of you and I look forward to catching up with you soon!

  4. Oh My, Those pictures are wonderful! The recipe sounds great also. It has been wonderful reading about your family. Teresa

  5. Nan,
    I have goosebumps!!!! Thank you for sharing this piece of your history! :):)

  6. Nan..I so love the first picture..can't you just imagine all the little giggles they shared. How lucky you are to have these pictures. I am adopted..I would love to have seen my parents in this way.
    The recipe is a keeper..I will try this as soon as I can get to an oven.Mine has been broke for 2 years.:-(
    Thank you so much for sharing this! Love it.and your aprons are cute..I used doilys also..lol

    Hugs Cindy from Rick-Rack and Gingham

  7. Oh! I love the picture of your mom and dad!! I also love the two pictures of Mary. You can see by her sweet smile that she wasn't always so stern looking. What great family treasures! Can't wait to get our pockets. Yours and the ones that I have seen so far are all so adorable!

  8. I'm enjoying reading these posts about your family this week. I am always envious of people who have wonderful old pictures and know the stories that go with them. I have very few pictures of my parents and grandparents and that makes me sad. Your soup recipe sounds delicious and I will be trying it soon. My husband and I both love to make soup in the fall and winter...so comforting. Your apron pockets are going to be so sweet...the addition of the doily is adorable.
    We are having tornado warnings in Pittsburgh tonight (most unusual)...hope it's calm where you are!

  9. great post! First of all, what a great picture of your parents.. she looks so happy and so thin! (I'm always amazed at ones thinness! (probably because I'm just not!) the other pictures are cool too. Cant wait to see your apron pockets all finished! I love how you used the paper doilys! GOOD Idea!
    have a great day

  10. Fabulous post. I so enjoyed reading about your family history, and seeing these delightful photographs. The photo of your precious mom in her apron, with your dad is wonderful. A true treasure. Your GG-Grandmother Mary, she gets kuddos from me, for posing with a cat. She couldn't be all that stern, if she allowed kitty to sit on her clean apron. ;)
    Speaking of aprons, your paper ones are looking to sure be delightful!

  11. Hello again Nan,
    I have been reading some of your older posts and this one is precious! I love all of the pictures (especially the one of your Mom and Dad!!). Yes, I do believe that the pot is the one in the picture!!! And I will try your recipe for apple dumplings. The apples used may have been Northern Spy. Check out this blog for some interesting info about Northern Spies.
    Thanks so much for sharing. I have a hunger on for apples!!! LOL!!
    Warm hugs, Laura


I appreciate each and every one of your comments! Thank you for taking the time to leave such nice words!