Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Angel Apple Sauce

A year after we moved to Tennessee, some dear friends of ours became very ill. They were the kid's Godparents and they were true angels here on earth. They weren't that old, only in their early 70s, I believe, if that old.

I first met Tony on my first trip to Geneva. He was a business colleague of the hub's in the textile business. Tony had worked in the Nixon White House as a speech writer and had helped put the Multifiber Arrangement (basically the textile quota system) into place. He whole heartedly took me under his wing, literally, and showed me around. He was a big ol' bear of a guy with a voice as soft as Mr. Roger's. I wondered about him. I feel ashamed, but I did. I had never met a soul as nice as this without having an ulterior motive. He had none. And when it came time to meet his wife, Florence, she was just as sweet and caring as he. The teenager was a baby of barely one, so we are going back about 16 years. If the hub and I hadn't had parents, they would have been them. Each time the hub would leave on one of his business trips, Florence would call to see if there was anything they could do while he was gone. They were that type of people. Just good through and through.

When I became pregnant with the kid, I knew right away who I wanted to be his Godparents. They were devout Catholics, as none I had ever met; yet gentle with His word. Tony and Florence never tried to shove religion down your throat. You knew where they stood and knew they were there for you in any way, period. The kid was being brought into the world by a c-section on Tuesday, November 16, 1993. (I chose Tuesday because I didn't want a doc cutting me open first thing on a Monday morning after a lost weekend, hehe.) Anyway, Tony's cousin was in town, who just happened to be a Catholic priest, from New York. They all came over and we held communion at our home on that Sunday before the birth. Now, how special is that? Florence brought bread from her house and that was our communion. I will never, ever forget that.

Back to 2002 when both were diagnosed with cancer. Florence had been in the hospital with a cough. They told us the docs couldn't find anything, but by the amount of time she was there, we knew something was up. Thinking back on it, they never told us it was cancer. I'm sure, they didn't want to worry anyone. Shortly after she got out, Tony was admitted because of his stomach. I knew he had previous problems with his stomach as he was once hospitalized overseas because of it. The hub called up once they both were home and asked if they needed me there. They said they did. I knew then, it wasn't good.

I flew up the day before my birthday. When I got to the house, both were in bed. Florence had lost so much weight. I had seen them only three weeks before when I was in town visiting my mom and she was in the hospital. I remember losing a charm, a jade good luck charm, that day and I had prayed it had fallen off in her room to make her well. Unfortunately, that hadn't happened.

Tony was unable to eat, we later found out because of a blockage. Cancer had grown. I had gone grocery shopping before I arrived and knew I was going to make them chicken soup and applesauce. When you're sick, those two are the best items you can put on the menu. And so, this is the applesauce recipe I had found on Epicurious.com on November 12, 2002. I have made it several times since then and always remember our dear friends. Tony passed a week after I returned home, thanksgiving weekend; and Florence joined him in Heaven the following January, barely two months apart. We were very fortunate to have been able to say goodbye to our very dear friends. For that I am extremely grateful. My faith in God and Heaven grew after their deaths. These two folks could never be apart from one another; and for both of them to leave us so close together was a miracle. Neither suffered terribly long, and for that, we all were also thankful. Now, I know, without a doubt, that I have two very high-ranked angels looking over my little family.

And so, if you make this applesauce, look up and smile at the two angels looking down on you.

This is an extremely easy recipe. The hardest part, of course, is peeling the apples. I had bought this fancy schamncy apple peeler and corer many years ago. It was good the first couple of times, but it is now in the trash bin. Not worth the trouble and mess that comes with it. I even had to bring out the wrenches to "adjust it" to. Away with it! Gone and good riddance! I went back to the good old fashioned peeler which took half the time!! Lord!

I used all Granny Smith apples, which makes it more tart. I think it's actually better with a mix, but this is all I had, so I went for it. Your choice, of course, to your taste.

Angel Apple Sauce
  • 8 assorted apples (Rome, McIntosh, Royal gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Red Delicious, etc.)
  • 1 fresh lemon juice
  • 1 C fresh apple cider
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches long)
1. Peel, core and cut the apples into large chunks, tossing them with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

2. Place the apples and remaining ingredients in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cover partially. Cook about 15 minues until apples are tender. Uncover pot and cook about 5 minutes more.

3. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick. Coarsely mash (I didn't need to with only Granny's). Cool to room temp and then refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. Use within 5 days. Enjoy. We're having ours with a pork roast tonight! Yummy.


Tammy said...

Loved your Angel Story dear Rosa!!
The applesauce looks Nummy!!

Daisy Lupin said...

Just caught up with your last few postings, blogger hasn't wanted to let me onto your site for a couple of days. The applesauce looks really good. I have just stewed a load of apples and made some apple crumbles and pies and stuck them in the freezer. Also made my first hearty casserole of the cold weather, like you. I'm afraid I am a bit of ham bone hog, if I am in town and see a couple in the butchers, I will buy them as I make a lot of soup in the winter, and like to have some ham bones in the freezer. Nothing like a ham bone for soup.

PEA said...

It's not often we are lucky enough to meet such wonderful people as your Tony and Florence...people come and go in our lives but every once in a while we meet someone who is so special. You were indeed lucky to have had them in your life and I so enjoyed reading your story about them. The applesauce recipe sounds delish so I've copied it and will definitely give it a try! I'll always think of your two angels when I see applesauce now:-) Hugs xox

Sue said...

Your angel applesauce looks really good.
Loved the story behind it. I'm sure your very own angels are smiling at you from heaven...

FarmgirlCyn said...

I love the fact that you can never make applesauce again without thinking of your dear friends. How thankful you must have been to be able to minister to them in their time of need. You were THEIR angel that week.

Fizzy said...

They sound like dear great friends.

Connie and Rob said...

I won't have to make applesauce to think of Tony and Florence...If it just touches my lips I will think of your angels.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a beautiful post! Your friends were sweet people...

Your applesauce looks very healthy and fine!

paris parfait said...

What wonderful friendships you shared and you honour them both with your story - and with your applesauce recipe! xo

Shell said...

Wonderful story! I love applesauce but have never made any. Thanks for sharing the special story & recipe with us.

Beth said...

What a special story. I love how sweet and gentle you are, Rose! And that applesauce looks so yummy.
I am glad you have those wonderful Angels looking after your precious family.



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