WPA Virginia Apple Butter Boiling Part 2
Here is part of our story about a community wide food making tradition in Virginia based on WPA records archived in the Library of Congress. Housewives throughout Winchester, Virginia lug from their dusty hiding places great copper kettles. Cleared spaces and backyards are readied. With sand and pumice the copper kettles are scored to a burnished gold color. Great stacks of firewood gathered by the younger boys and girls during the after school hours appear mysteriously within reach of the gleaming kettles. And then the fun begins. Kindly disposed neighbors are invited in after the farmer’s day has drawn to an end. Housewives and daughters spent hours peeling apples with paring knives and pails. For days pie and cake making occurs and cider with a bite that brings a healthy rose color to the cheeks of young and old alike is stored in the pantries. Long tables are set in the living room for many of the poorer homes boast only of a combined kitchen and living room and they are piled high with pumpkin pies, a rich creamy yellow in their fork crimped crusts, mince pies, fragrant with spices and brandy, apple turnovers for the boys and girls, sugar sticks, gingerbread cookies made with blackstrap sorghum and filled with currants and raisins. (Grant Jennings Smith)
The take away: Can you tell me the first and last name of the neighbors who live within a 50 yard radius of where your residents? The question may not be relevant to you now but it will be in a time of crisis for you or your neighbor. Despite our cell phones, social media platforms, friends and family, we need our neighbors and our neighbors need us: accidents happen; life and death arrive unscheduled; natural disaster like hurricanes turn our lives upside down. We need neighborhood bonding opportunities like that described in the story above to cultivate caring and supportive relationships where we live. Need I say more?