Childhood Memories ~ haibun

Childhood Memories

Many years after my mother’s passing, I got a hankering for her apple cake. I remember it as a single layer of spice cake in a rectangular pan, with apple slices upright in three rows, from end to end. I searched online for apple cake recipes, and ended up combining two recipes to get a cake that tasted just as I remembered, but with the apples stirred into the batter.

My mother always baked from scratch, and it finally dawned on me to ask my sister if she had my mother’s recipe. She sent a photo of the original recipe card, and there were distinct differences from my final recipe, so I didn’t waste any time trying my hand at the original. It had been fifteen years since I’d had my mother’s apple cake, but I knew I would never forget that taste.

Unfortunately, mine did not taste the same, and it occurred to me that my mother had made that cake since I was a child, and she probably hadn’t bothered to look at that recipe for years and years. Fortunately, I came up with a recipe that reminds me of her cake, so now I’ll try making it with the apple slices in rows. Maybe I can pass that recipe on to my children.

childhood memories
rows of fruit trees in orchard
apple falls from tree

This haibun is my response to Poetics: Looking for Sustenance from Lisa at dVerse.

Image: Apple orchard in Olcott, Niagara County, New York, October 2010

31 thoughts on “Childhood Memories ~ haibun

  1. Enjoyed this, and I applaud your bending the recipe a bit to get the desired taste. No one will ever know the bends your mother made (w/o annotation!) so good that you are innovative AND documentative. Daddy had apple trees in our yard (multiple varieties) and Mother had strong preferences for which ones went into pies (Jonathon) … I’m curious if your mom’s recipe specified which apple? Today’s Jonathon is not exactly like the ones Daddy grew in the 1950s … almost all foodstuffs have evolved a bit.
    Any chance your hybrid recipe will show up on the blog???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jazz. My mother was keen on Macs. With more varieties available, these days, they’re harder to find around here. I’ve been using Gala and Honey Crisp. My latest incarnation was a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try the upright-slice method this weekend before blogging.

      Here’s an interesting side note:
      I’m clueless, regarding the different flavors of apples, raw. I can’t eat them. I finally figured out that I have oral allergy syndrome (or, pollen-food allergy syndrome). An allergy to birch (which I never realized I have) will cause symptoms for fruit and nuts, since there’s a similar protein/enzyme reaction (to simplify). Apples, peaches, pears, cherries, plums, and nuts will cause my ears to itch and “plug up,” and my throat becomes slightly constricted when I eat these uncooked. Bananas, strawberries, carrots, celery and peppers could be included, but I don’t have an issue with them, or any berries.
      https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/oral-allergy-syndrome-foods

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow – that’s something I’ve never heard of – thanks for the link. I will pay attention hereafter to responses I may have been dismissing. I’d guess my level of severity (if any of these affect me) is low … to date … I do have allergies to pollen from oak, juniper, and elm … maybe more less obvious. And allergy sensitivity can increase with extended exposure (or for unknown reasons!)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You are quite right about your mother following the recipe. Good cooks are adventurous! I have a cherished recipe of my aunt’s which calls for “butter the size of a walnut”!

    Liked by 1 person

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