Friday, October 1, 2010

Cortlands, Gingersnaps and Dad

It's that wonderful time of year again when trees burn with oranges, reds and yellows, the air has a brisk feel to it and apples are back in season! Today as I pushed my grocery cart to the produce aisle, I was delighted to find those red jewels, Cortland apples, just waiting for me! I was reminded of a post I wrote last year about that crunchy treat, so as I was munching on my apple on the drive home, I decided to repost it. How funny that when I found last year's post, it was dated October 1st. I must be more of a creature of habit than I realize!

I just returned from the grocery store where I was delighted to find the autumnal treat of crisp, sweet and juicy Cortland apples. To me, Cortland apples are not just a healthy treat, they are a memory of love. They were my dad's favorite apple. Just before he became too ill to go out walking, my children and I took him to an apple farm. There we picked several bushels of Cortland apples. My dad, who was usually very quiet even when he was pleased, thanked me for the outing and wondered how in the world I had ever found that out-of- the-way apple orchard. When he became home-bound, I would bring him bags of those Cortlands from the grocery store and set a shiny apple and a knife in front of him at the table and just watch him delight in peeling and quartering his favorite apple. Tonight, when I found those apples in the store, I was overcome with nostalgia and love for my dad who has passed away over three years ago. I couldn't wait until I got home to eat one, and peel and cut it like he did. Instead, I immediately bit into it and enjoyed memories of my dad with every bite, all the way home. Recalling the memories of those apples led me to remember another food that was a favorite of my dad's, gingersnap cookies, which is also a food that feels like autumn...



These are the traditional joys
of gingersnap cookies.
But to me, gingersnaps offer so much more
than these sensory attributes.

Gingersnaps are a memory of love.
They remind me of my Dad
who loved gingersnaps more than any other cookie.

That rich molasses flavor
hooked him
and he was in love.
There was nothing he enjoyed better
than dunking them in his coffee.

When he was feeling generous
he would buy a bag or two
for my family and I to enjoy.

When I was feeling generous
I would spend an afternoon
baking them from scratch
for him to enjoy.

When my children were small,
their favorite job
was rolling the balls of gingersnap dough
in the dish of sugar
and flattening them with the bottom of a glass.

Whenever I see gingersnaps in the store
or even better
smell gingersnaps
baking in the oven
I am immediately
transported back to another time,
a time when I could share love
with my dad
through a gingersnap cookie.


  1. Anne,
    Foods, smells and tastes can evoke such powerful memories! Autumn is my favorite season and I can just taste these autumn treats of apples and gingersnaps through your post.

  2. Wonderful memories of your Dad! We picked apples at a nearby farm this week (it's in my Sabbath Moment post for tomorrow) and I made sure I picked a lot of Cortlands. These are my favorites!

  3. Here in TX, we are the mercy of the trucks that will bring the apples from the north. I don't think Cortlands are available to us, but I will keep my eyes open.
    It is amazing how scent can take us back. It's funny; my dad would eat ANY cookie.. I don't remember any one particular kind being his favorite, but your posts compels me to make ginger snaps... :)