WPA Virginia Apple Butter Boiling Part 3
Taking a look at food stories from the Library of Congress. These are stories collected by WPA writer’s working on a project called America eats. This story looks at a fall community wide apple harvesting tradition from Frederick County, Virginia that dates back at least to the era of the Great Depression. This is a section of Virginia known for its abundance of apple orchards. The tradition called for farm families to come together and make all kinds of delicious Apple butter, baked goods, and cider from the fall harvest of apples. The host of these events served hard cider at these events:
“Not infrequently the lowly jug occupies the center of the food laden tables, for surely the menfolk will find cider a tame companion,” says WPA writer Grant Jennings Smith. He goes on to say, “songs are sung, jokes are told, younger members of the family are stretched prone upon the floor, listening to the merriment of their elders, for upon this night they are permitted to remain up long past the usual bedtime. With sufficient apples have been pared and cored, and the revelers are weary of the fund, one by one, as the occasion may be, they take their leave… with the host reminding them of the job bright and early in the morning, for then begins the boiling and stirring.” (Grant Jennings Smith)
Takeaway: Like food, beverages (and they don't have to be alcoholic) can also work to help bring communities together. I think about the tradition of warm cider with a sprinkle of cinnamon in it on a cold fall or winter evening around a campfire. It could be as simple as one person in your neighborhood using social media as well as handmade invitations to notify residents that you're hosting a hot cider storytelling session around a campfire in your backyard (If you have a suitable one). Perhaps you need to host it at a nearby park with permission from town or city officials. Try it let me know how it turns out.