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  • Kate Clinton

The Quest for Dorothy's Apple Pie

Traditions usually play an important part in families. They build relationships, connect generations, and reinforce values. Memories are created as they are carried out. Traditions give a sense of belonging and can bring comfort. In a way, traditions help tell each families' unique story. A good portion of those traditions usually revolve around food. Recipes are handed down. Smells take you back to a certain place. Tastes remind you of Grandma's kitchen. There is an actual scientific reason why a certain smell/taste can take you back in time and cause you to remember the feeling you had and even the place where the memory was created. Dr. Mercola (www.Mercola.com) explains what is happening in the brain when these memories are formed. There is a process called “Proust Phenomenon” or “odor-evoked autobiographical memory.” Basically, your brain processes smells through your Olfactory Bulb (scent-analyzing region of the brain), which is connected to the Amygdala and Hippocampus (regions in the brain for memory and emotion). These work together to cause a scent to have a vivid memory in your brain.


When I take a bite of my Mom's apple pie, I am taken back to her kitchen. I can see her apple décor that she has hung on the wall. I can hear my dad yelling that someone left the door open. That apple pie is the world's best. It was based on my Grandma Dorothy's recipe. My mom never learned how to make the apple pie from her mom, who died when she was 50 of cancer. But my mom had a lot of memories from that apple pie. She can remember coming home from school and seeing the floors freshly mopped and having the apple pie smell hit her in the face when she opened the door to her childhood home. She can remember her mom singing slightly off key and the fresh flower arrangement that was always displayed somewhere in the house. Her mom being up on a ladder frequently repainting a room. My mom set out on a hunt to find the right recipe for the crust and the right variety of apples to use. She wanted to find that taste she remembered from her childhood. It took her over a year and a lot of pie baking, but she was finally able to take a bite that brought back those memories. She has been baking it ever since. I took the easy route. I learned to make the pie from my mother when I was first married. Since then, I have tried to make a point of learning her recipes and her tricks so I can continue those specific tastes in my family's traditions. Grandma Dorothy's apple pie will continue on thanks to my mom and her pursuit of the perfect Dorothy pie.


I am sure she probably thought she had all the time in the world to learn how to make that pie. Most of us probably think that way. I have recently been thinking more about it and just learned last weekend how to crochet a blanket. From my mom. In front of my brother's fire place. And every blanket I crochet from now on will remind me of that day, sitting and learning from my mom. Are there any traditions you want to learn from a loved one while they are still around to teach you? A recipe? A craft? I have learned from my mom's long quest for the right apple pie to learn while you can. Keep the traditions going. Teach them to your kids. Generations will enjoy your efforts for years to come.
The Bible speaks a lot about traditions and handing down God's word through the generations.
1 Corinthians 11:2 “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you like down and when you rise up.”
2 Thessalonians 2:5 “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”
The tradition of passing on God's word is much more important than any recipe you could teach someone. Yet it is very easy, even for Christian homes, to focus more on day to day activities and never even mention a Biblical concept to your kids. There needs to be more to this than going to church on Sundays. I have been convicted of this the past year. I didn't have a lot of traditions growing up that focused on the Bible to pull from. I have also figured out if I don't become purposeful about it, day after day goes by without any teaching. We have these kids under our care for a short time. I want them to leave my home with more than an apple pie recipe. I want them to understand God and be saved by Jesus. Ready to face the world with more than the knowledge of how to make a good meatloaf. We started a scripture memorization contest. Carley, who is 11, is winning so far. Cade is only 6 and he is in second place. We did a 25 day devotion everyday before Christmas. All about the birth of Jesus. We are doing a 14 day devotion right now, learning about 1 Corinthians 13's definition of love for Valentine's Day. I am trying to be purposeful. And a lot of days I forget. Some weeks I don't even get the memory verse memorized that I wrote out for our competition. But I know we are doing a lot better than we were last year. And I hope when the kids grow up they will continue on some of these traditions we have started to make sure we are passing on God's word. We are affecting generations to come with how we live today. Let's do our best to pass on our family traditions and add some new ones of our own.


Is there anything you've been wanting to learn from a family member? Learn now, before it's too late. Think about how you can start adding God's word into your family's lives today. And now I need some apple pie.
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