Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas of the Antique Apple

It was an old-fashioned Christmas, with old-fashioned applie pie, and this year, it even featured old-fashioned apples.
Here's the story: A number of years ago - I'm trying to picture the kitchen where I first tried the recipe, and it's not coming to me - I ran across the basic recipe for Dad's Extreme Apple Pie. That wasn't what it was called, of course, but that's how it's known today.
Extreme? A single pie requires five pounds of apples.
When I was growing up, Mom made apple pies fairly often. She always looked for a particular type of apple - the Northern Spy. Even 40 years ago, they were hard to find, and today, they're extremely hard to locate in grocery stores.
They don't sell well in 21st century superstore produce departments, where the visual presentation is paramount. Frankly, they're not pretty. They look like beat-up old farm apples. And they don't travel well.
But this antique breed of apple is fabulous for pies, with firm flesh, and just the right mix of sweet and tart.
And on Christmas Eve, like a Christmas present, there they were - one 10-pound bag - in the produce section at Meijer. Kissy Missy snapped them up.

And the perfect version of Dad's Extreme Apple Pie was made on Christmas Day 2009.

For the second time in a month, the whole gang was here. Matthew slid up from Grand Rapids - literally. Andrew's back from Tech, settling in for a new adventure. Miranda was here. Katherine, and Robert and Jamie, and Kissy Missy and I all shared the kind of Christmas I'd always envied other people having. What we had: "Miracle on 34th Street" on the babble box, and on the table, pot roast, mashed potatoes, corn, carrots, asparagus (from Peru - ya gotta love the 21st century), with Dad's Extreme Apple Pie, a Sarah Lee sweet potato pie and Sleeping Bear made-in-Michigan ice cream for dessert.
And gifts, given from the heart.
What we didn't have: Relatives who sit with silent disapproval, adults playing adolescent mind games, and underwear for Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


She's 18.

Friday was Katherine's 18th birthday. I keep calling her my "mature, responsible adult daughter." She doesn't know that I (mostly) really mean it.

I always joked that she was the one who was born with a champagne glass in one hand, cigarette in the other, wanting to know who was in charge, baby. Actually, she objects to both ideas, but she still has the attitude she was born with. She is, after all, a ginger.

Sometimes she's an airhead. Sometimes she's a blonde. But along the way she found a fierce dedication to doing things right, and working hard enough to make them happen.

I greeted her on her birthday morning with Alice Cooper's "Eighteen" at a tooth-rattling volume. She just shook her head. Her friends gave her, among other things, "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies." If you have to ask, you won't get it.
After school, I took her to register to vote. Then she went, for the first time, to the casino. Go there on your 18th birthday and the Soaring Eagle will give you $30 on a Players Club card.
She played, and came home with a pocket full of cash.
She says she'll put it in the bank. My mature, responsible, adult daughter.
(Photos by Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Really. Dad's working.

So, Dad's been spending lots of time at Ford Field recently.
Beal City won the Division 8 state football championship.
Clare made it to the finals.
Central Michigan won the Mid-American Conference championship.
Dad was there with a video camera.
It's not ESPN, but it's great for

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Katherine does her homework

Yes, I know I'm old. When I was a senior in high school, the most sophisticated equipment I got to use for school was a manual Royal typewriter, a Headliner and a Compugraphic. And my dad's 1948-model Kodak 35RF.
The idea of producing homework on video? You mean like TeeVee?