The Arctic Apple Pie Adventure

One fine, wintry afternoon in the late 1980's when my schooling had come to a certain end and my professional career had come to a certain beginning, I found myself, miraculously, seated in the home of my old friend Alan Wells. (The literary world knows him as Mortimer Snert.) I say miraculously because I resided by now in Tulsa and Alan resided still in Norman, and there was, you may recall, fierce arctic activity in the state of Oklahoma at the time.

Being seated somewhere in the toasty confines of Alan's house, it was decided that what two men of our sort really needed most at such a time was a hot apple pie. Well, clearly the proper ingredients needed for an apple pie would not be found in the bachelor-inhabited house we were presently inhabiting. That went without saying. (Yet, I say it for additional clarity.) So there was nothing left to do but make a journey to the nearest fruit market and collect the items we needed in exchange for a small fee.

The nearest fruit market was located about 0.756 miles up the road, which, I should remind you, was covered with snow to a depth of perhaps approximately five to seven inches. Having just recently driven over 120 miles through this wintry mix, I was not in the mood for more of it at that moment, so it was decided we would either ride our bicycles or walk. The last bicycle I had owned was probably rusting out in my grandpa's pasture near Earlsboro, and Alan's was no doubt suffering a similar fate in the region of Lahoma, so we unanimously opted to walk.

Thus in time, after plowing through snow drifts the size of a medium-sized U-boat in temperatures of single digit and a windshield factor of -53, we arrived with snow on our boots and snow on our hats and snow on our gloves and snow on our collars at the nearest fruit market (which also traded in dry goods, canned goods, frozen goods, and tabloids). We slip-slided around the freshly waxed floor of the fruit market in our snowy boots, gathering all the necessary components one needs to construct a proper apple pie. Ours would feature only fresh apples, so we bypassed the plastic apples in the canned goods isle and snagged a pile of nice, fresh, red apples in the produce section. Flour and salt and sugar were added to the cart in the dry goods isle, along with some popular brand of shortening or bear lard - I forget which. Finally, a half-gallon of ice cream from the frozen goods section was thrown in for good measure.

We approached the empty check out lane, hossed our purchases onto the conveyor belt and proceeded to haul out our wages. The little people behind the cash register and behind the stack of grocery sacks were looking upon Alan and myself with skepticism, having spied us trudging up the lane from the outskirts of the snow-infested town. Nonetheless the little people accepted payment, we took up our burdens and headed back out into the night time snowy wilderness for the long trek home.

Perhaps an hour and a half after leaving Alan's house for the fruit market, we arrived back at the front door where we proceeded to stomp the snow off our boots and off our hats and off our gloves and off our collars and off our groceries. Once inside, we unloaded our sacks and took inventory. I washed and began peeling the apples while Alan overturned his kitchen in search of a cookbook. He eventually found the Enid Public Schools 1978 "Recipes From the Plainsmen" which contained a lovely apple pie recipe submitted by his mother. Before long we had an authentic, do-it-yourself, made-from-scratch apple pie in the oven.

We sat back at the kitchen table for hours upon hours waiting for our apple pie to fully cook. Meanwhile, Scruffy the Cat scampered up and down the window curtains chasing an imaginary snow creature.

At last the pie was ready, and we each partook of a giant wedge of the thing with ample quantities of ice cream piled up on top for good measure. We feasted upon apple pie like it was to be our last. By and large, it was a successful campaign. Of course, Alan and I are not what you would call chefs. But we would offer a word of advice to aspiring apple pie cooks across America, whether in arctic regions or otherwise; when dispensing the salt, be sure to select a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon.

© 2015 Dane Tate