World Chefs: Author details her love affair with apples
By Ros Krasny
BOSTON (Reuters) - After almost five years of researching, developing and testing recipes food writer Amy Traverso knows her apples. Thousands of apples peeled, cored, chopped, baked.
The result is "The Apple Lover's Cookbook," a 300-page near-encyclopedia about the fruit that surely holds a special place in the American psyche.
"It was hard to let go of the book. There was so much to discover," said Traverso, who is based in Brookline, Massachusetts -- within striking distance of many of New England's best apple orchards.
Geared to the home cook, the book contains 100 recipes, from appetizers and sandwiches through meat dishes to familiar pies and cobblers.
"I found that apples were well suited to so many types of dishes, more than I imagined," Traverso said. "Apples are the most accessible food for many people, and there are so many varieties that are unique to a particular place."
The book delves into the history of apples in the United States, from the seeds and cuttings brought by the Jamestown, Virginia, settlers to the New World in the early 1600s. Adaptability and versatility meant apples became a staple for Pilgrims in New England and settlers as they moved west and south.
"They performed so many roles in early American cooking and were spread by the government," Traverso explained. "When people took land, they promised to stay until the apple trees grew," helping to build a stable society.
Traverso profiles 59 varieties of apple, from familiar grocery store favorites to exotic offerings like Arkansas Black and Westfield Seek-No-Further. The apples are cataloged into four subgroups (tender-tart, firm-tart, tender-sweet and firm-sweet), and Traverso suggests the best usage and ideal taste for each variety. Continued...