After a summer of Southern, Southwestern, and West Coast cooking, I find myself drawn to the Northeastern region of the country now that there’s a little chill in the evening air. With the change in the weather, I find myself craving ginger cookies, beef stews that simmer all afternoon, and apples. Apple cider, apple crisp, apples with pork chops, Macintosh, Gala, and Northern Spy – basically apples in any form.
And so this week, I turn to the first edition of the Junior League of Rochester’s Applehood and Motherpie: Handpicked Recipes from Upstate New York (1981). In the introduction, the editors write, “The Genesee Valley yields a rich harvest of produce. Perhaps most well known is the upstate apple in its many varieties. In this book, in addition to all types of cookery, you will find many recipes which feature the apple to its fullest potential.”
In addition to apples, the introduction points out, the area is also the nation’s leading producer of cabbage for sauerkraut, and boasts one of the largest centers of wine production outside of California.
I was poking around the library, and learned that some of the more interesting people in American history once called Rochester home. During the 1840s and 1850s, Frederick Douglass owned a home here, and published the North Star, a weekly newspaper printed with the motto “Right is of no sex – Truth is of no color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.” During his time in Rochester, Douglass fought alongside women’s organizations in the city for the abolitionist cause and women’s rights. One of those women happened to be none other than Susan B. Anthony.
And in 1885, a young Lithuanian woman immigrated to the United States, settled in Rochester, and found brutal, low-paying work in one of the city’s garment factories.
The book where I found this image includes the capition, “‘Red Emma’ lived in Rochester for only a few years, but harsh experiences and impressions she gained in the city’s clothing industry helped shape her anarchist career.”
True, 19th century Rochester was home to bucolic fruit orchards and progressive ideals, but it was also proudly at the center of the industrialist movement in the United States.
Perhaps the most famous and enduring of these corporate ventures was the brainchild of an amateur photographer turned inventor and entrepreneur, founded in the early 1880s.
And a lovely early ad for Kodak camera, circa 1890s – “You press the button, we do the rest”:
Is there anything you can’t find at the library?
As much as I’ve enjoyed the past few months of farmers markets, canning, frozen pies, poisson cru, and boat drinks from my Junior League cookbooks, I’m really looking forward to digging into some cookbooks from northern states for the next few weeks. I grew up in Pennsylvania, after all, and know firsthand that even though summer gets all the attention, there’s nothing more comforting than food that tastes like fall.
View recipes and photos from the Junior League of Rochester’s Applehood and Motherpie (Batter Up Beef Pie, Baked Squash and Apple Casserole, Til McCutcheon’s Ginger Cookies, Apple Sausage Jumble, Asparagus Tomato Skillet)