Thursday, February 7, 2013
FRIED APPLE PIES--A KILGORE LEGACY by Ron McKeever
I remember when I was a small boy, visiting the Kilgore farm and being put to work helping out whatever the particular job was for that day. I drew water for washday...split stove wood for cooking...cleaned out the barn stalls.... turning the blower in the blacksmith shop, plus a ton of other related jobs needed on a farm.
One particular job that carried over into the present day was hauling apples from the orchard and helping cut them up for drying. Several of the womenfolk would gather in a circle with their pans and knives to peel and slice the apples to prepare them for drying. Any grandchildren available had to carry apples from the orchard and then, carry the cores and peelings to the hog lot. Several pieces of tin was washed and scrubbed and laid out for drying the apples. A pan full of sliced apples was spread over the tin to allow the hot sun to dehydrate them.
At evening, the sliced apples would be gathered up in a pillowcase and brought inside, then the next morning, spread out again on the tin for continued drying. This would go on for several days until Granny Kilgore decided that there were right. During the winter months, some of the dried apples would be re-hydrated and cooked into apple slurry, sugar added and made into some of the best pies you have ever eaten.
Fried apple pies were made in heaven. It was a common joke that if any of us had to take two bites to eat one, it was a sign that we were sick. Over the years, Mom made thousands of fried apple and peach pies. For more than 20 years, I conducted a church service at a nursing home and I always talked about Mom's fried apple pies. Many of the people in the home knew exactly what I was talking about. I would tell them that Mom sent some to them but I sinned and ate them up before I could get them to the home.
During the past 20 or so years, I would bring several of my church friends up to the farm for bird hunting. Mom would make a couple of pans of apple...a couple of pans of peach...and then a pan of blueberry fried pies. I used these pies to make a ton of friends. They admitted that the only reason they hung out with me was because of Mom's fried pies. During Joe's travels, if he came by the farm, he had to load up on pies to carry to his boys. I have often wondered if they actually made it to New Orleans or gotten ate on the way. We never grew tired of telling Mom how much we appreciated what she and Pop did for us. Memory is a gift from God that death does not destroy. I would love to tell her again how much I appreciated her.