A is for apple

Homepage A is for apple

On a fine clear morning I biked the long way to work.  I ventured through the hills and valleys that surround my home.  The leaves were showing their fall brilliance and the trees were bursting with fruit.  For a long while I followed a delivery truck from one of the orchards.  When I got into the city I would loose of it and then find it again, as it pulled in and out of school driveways.  It gave me pause for all the lessons learned from such a fine fruit, after all A is for Apple.

Apples are pure and sustainable.  They are a perfect food.  As a traveler I always have one in my bag.  A plaque preventative and meal on the go, I can think of no better substitute.  Savory salads, slaws and snacks all get a crunchy boost from this versatile fruit.  The seemingly endless varieties provide a range of tang and texture to choose from.  Breads and cakes get moisture and a nutritional boost when an apple is incorporated into the recipe.

In every apple I find a healthy dose of nostalgia.  They remind me of my grandma. Pastry piled high with slices coated in cinnamon and sugar often adorned her counters. The twinkle in her eye as she crafted her famous candied versions each October was always the cause of infectious laughter.  On it's own or coated in caramel, one thing is for sure, there is a smile in every bite.


Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy an apple:


Photo Credit: Julie Cecchini

The choice of freedom and independence every day

Every journey away teaches me that I love being an American.  Every homecoming reminds me why I love calling it my home.

The choice of freedom and independence every day

A year ago I would have been sitting on a balcony, coffee in hand, organizing my day and gazing out at the sea.  Instead of NPR in the back ground, I would have been listing to the sounds of students marching to the Chinese communist anthem.   There was a beauty to the ritual.   Discipline and a sense of nationalism were the purposes of the young adults dressing and piling onto a playing field at the un natural hour of 6am.  They were also there for roll call, so that the school and party knew where they were. 

The choice of freedom and independence every day

This spring I was in a colder and darker province.  No balcony and no sea view.  My mornings were spent listening to the chanting of urban roosters and the Muslim call to prayer.  If the weather and time permitted I would stroll the early morning streets.  Elderly men could be found doing calisthenics and women dancing.  The only sign of the young was the reluctant 6:30 am lining up for finger printing at the student center.  When that was done they had the choice of studying and then breakfast or breakfast then studying.  Many would use the limited options as a guise.  Pretending to be doing something while hunched over, playing video games on their phones, never seeing or caring about the light of day.   

The choice of freedom and independence every day

This morning I am getting ready to take the long road to work on my bike.  It is my attempt at the discipline I witnessed in Jimei.  I don’t have to pretend to be doing anything else.  I may get rained on and I may have the joy of seeing the clouds break.  Either way, the sky will be big and beautiful and the air will be sweet and clean.  The path I take is a choice I get to make.    China has taught me that freedom and independence are something to celebrate every day. 

dog days of summer

The forecast is for more “hazy, hot and humid, with a chance of thunderstorms”.  That translates to a long, energy sapping day. 


Here are a couple go to recipes that are short on time and long on refreshing flavor;


 Photo Credit: Julie Cecchini