It seemed my mother was happiest when she served her apple pie. She smiled when she carried her cooled pie plate to the table, the top crust lumpy from the delicious, sweet apple filling.

Seasoned with butter, sugar, cinnamon, a touch of nutmeg, lemon juice and flour, her apple pies filled the house with an aroma that promised my favorite dessert. Guess I could say my mother’s generous Northern Spy pies foreshadowed the “mile high apple pie” of my generation.

And when she took up her knife for the first slice of her perfect, flaky Crisco crust, an intense, content furrow formed on her brow. I can’t speak for my sisters and father, but I held my breath and salivated in awe and anticipation. Come fall, nothing pleased me more than a piece of Mom’s apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

With skill, Mom slid her pie server under the bottom crust. Dad’s plate awaited the first slice. Mom’s left hand held the top crust steady as she lifted the slice from the glass pan. Apples oozed their juicy filling.

My mother could not countenance a dry apple pie.

A ten-inch pie was just enough for our family of five, then six, and seven. And when Mom cooked for Thanksgiving company, most often Kentucky relatives, she baked two apple and one pumpkin pie. I preferred apple.

Incidentally, my mother peeled apples faster than anyone I’d ever seen, except Granny, her mother.

“I’ve been baking pies since I was eleven years old,” Mom would say. Or, “I’d like to see the pies and cakes I’ve baked in my lifetime. Probably make a mountain.”

Mom also peeled bushels of apples to can applesauce in October. She added thirty-some quart jars to her fruit cellar under the basement stairs. My sisters and I could consume a jar of applesauce with Mom’s delicious breaded pork chops, green beans, and scalloped potatoes.

A bowl of applesauce on a winter day made a perfect after-school snack.

Sometimes, Mom baked stuffed apples served with whipping cream. Oh, how I loved the sweet, nutty, oatmeal center. Following Granny’s example, Mom also peeled, sliced and fried apples in butter and seasoned with cinnamon for her hot biscuits.

Now, at the tail end of apple season, I crave Mom’s apple pie all the more. Unlike strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches and pears, apples have staying power. I core and slice them to toss in mixed greens with walnut halves, pomegranate seeds, and green onion. Salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and olive oil make a fine vinaigrette.

Indeed, Dear Reader, I’m thinking of Thanksgiving dinner and my deep, ten inch, glass pie plate, edge fluted like Mom’s. And I just discovered a Butternut Squash and Apple Soup recipe which I think my grandson would like.

And for an appetizer, an Apple Crostata recipe with McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples caught my eye.

What can’t we cook and bake with the amazing apple in all its tasty varieties?

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail.com