Applesauce, in the Spirit of Discipline

lic, ny

Yesterday was marathon Sunday in New York, a day when over 40,000 people gather from around the world to run their hearts out along the 26.2 mile route that weaves through New York’s five boroughs...while the rest of us gather to show our support, most commonly over brunch.
The easiest thing in the world is to stand on the sidelines of a marathon with a full belly, hoping to absorb some of the tenacity and perseverence it takes each runner to pound the pavement for three to four {and sometimes five and six} hours on end. Having never attempted such a feat, I’m struck with emotion over the effort of hundreds of people running side by side for country or cause, pushing through the pain at the 14-mile marker where András and I stood with our bikes around the corner from home. There is both hope and heartache in the sight of people being pushed on by the sound of their name called out by strangers, read from jerseys to inspire them to keep going just a few miles more. Go Dave! Go Karen! You can do it Juan! Keep going Susan!
András leads the voices. He knows the rules of a marathon intimately, having run dozens of them, six of them in New York, once finishing 176th out of over 38,000 runners. He narrates the scene—the mile markers, the time charts, the water stations, the volunteers standing by with Vaseline to rub on chapped skin. I’m mesmerized by his knowledge of the scene, his stories of crossing the Queensboro Bridge separated from the nearest runner by a minute split.
I ask him his best Marathon time.
I try to think of something amazing I’ve done with two hours and forty-one minutes, and suddenly I think of the 30 pounds of apples sitting in our kitchen that we lugged home from the farmer’s market on Wednesday morning.
“I bet I could make a winter’s worth of applesauce in two hours and forty one minutes,” I say.
We roll home on our bikes and set to work, side by side, washing and coring Mutsu, Macoun, Pippen and Cameo apples, cutting them in chunks and toss them in our biggest pots with a touch of sugar, cider and Saigon cinnamon from my last trip to The Spice House in Chicago. While the house smells of simmering sauce, we set to work on the bookshelf, reorganizing and arranging piles of books that we ransacked during a busy summer.
When the sauce is finished and cooled, I transfer it into jars, make list of friends we’d be sharing it with and create lovely labels with names like Saigon Sweet {for the cinnamon}, Gala Royale and Empire State Sauce.
“It’s not worth putting on those labels for just one or two days,” András says. Left in his reach,the 12 jars we made will most likely be gone within the week, a feat requiring the kind of dedication András has mastered through years of training. So, in the spirit of discipline, we each curl up with a jar of sauce, a spoon and a favorite book, rest our weary legs and celebrate our winnings.
I’d like to think that a marathon applesauce making requires sacrifice, tenacity, perseverance but the truth is, it is about the simplest thing, requiring no discipline at all. Here’s how:


Cloverland Farm said...

I love this post!!!!! what could i do with 2:41? hmmm....grade all these midterms on my table? i'm going for it!

SweetNothings said...

When I was a growing up, my father shed his suit and tie every fall for a marathon of applesauce making. Starting with a bushel of apples from the local orchard, he carefully cored the apples, leaving the skin on for color and flavor. The beautiful nearly pink sauce, separated from the skins after cooking, was put into freezer containers (which is what we called them before Tupperware/Gladware), to be devoured in the long months until the apples grew fresh on the trees once again.

Thank you for bringing back this memory.

Edible Living said...

Thanks for your comment Sweet Nothings. I'm skin-on, all the way, As you say, it gives the best flavor and color, and it saves a lazy cook like me loads of time. Thank you for sharing this sweet memory.

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Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.