My wife’s grandparents came to America from Ireland in the 1920s and settled in Boston about three blocks from Harvard. Her grandmother was known for the speed with which she did everything, her wit, her strong Irish accent and her apple pies! Oh they were good!
When she died in the early 90s, it was shortly before St. Patrick’s Day. Her passing hit my wife pretty hard, as her “Nana” was the maternal figure in her life. I decided that I’d bake an apple pie for my wife on St. Patrick’s Day to commemorate Nana… though I had never baked any kind of pie before. We had a Betty Crocker cookbook, and I figured that if I obeyed Betty, it would all come out good.
Betty’s instructions said to core and pare the apples. My grandmother had a paring knife, so since that was used to slice things, I assumed that “pare,” meant to slice the apple. I didn’t realize it was saying to peel it… so I didn’t. The pie was good, though it had more fiber than most people would like.
Since then, I’ve made an apple pie (or two) almost every year on St. Patrick’s Day – though now I peel (or pare) the apples. I’ve even mailed a slice to my daughter when she was in college. (Pie-shaped Tupperware, a long-lasting icepack, a padded envelope, and overnight mail make that possible.) Apple pie on St. Patrick’s Day has become our annual event and tribute to Nana.