Apparently It Skips a Generation

Sharing our childhood home with my grandparents created so many endearing memories, most of them the sights and scents of my mom and dad, and my grandmother canning in our tiny farmhouse kitchen. There was the hundreds of mason jars lined up on the table, the big blue canning kettle and the steam rising off the boiling water ready to seal the fruits and vegetables into those mason jars where they would slowly disappear from our fruit cellar as the long winter gave way to spring and our garden thawed out, readying itself for the next growing season. Every once in awhile something brings that memory flooding back. In those moments, I can still remember the smells wafting from the kitchen all the way to my upstairs bedroom, that aromatic mixture of pickled corn and beets, dill pickles and relish, fruits and ah yes, the apple sauce. Oh that glorious mixture of apples and cinnamon. That recipe so perfected by my dad.

When canning came to an end each fall, and all the canning equipment had been stowed away, we would stack the shelves of our basement fruit cellar with enough canned vegetables and fruit to last us through the winter. We were self sufficient and I always remember mom and dad’s pride as they recorded the inventory. Nothing in our garden had gone to waste. As the winter wore on, each meal would be augmented with something from the cellar, fresh, aromatic, and delicious. But my favorite was always the apple sauce. We would have it on ice cream. We would warm it up and put it in a bowl with a little splash of cream, or as my grandfather liked it, spread across a warm slice of grandmas’ homemade bread. There just wasn’t anything it didn’t go well with.

Recently, after trips to every apple orchard pumpkin patch in the area, with grandchildren in tow, my daughter handed me a pint of the golden nectar. She has been working on it for the past several years and she just might have perfected it. Somehow, through experimentation, old recipes scratched out on weathered notecards, and of course hours of shared applesauce sessions at her grandfather’s side, Bailey has come as close as humanly possible to my dad’s apple sauce recipe. It now sits proudly on my counter awaiting the moment I crack the seal and carefully ration out my first serving.

Where my wife and I have never seemed to successfully carry on the tradition, my daughters have prevailed. They have become the gardeners, the chefs, and yes the canners I never was. The art had skipped a generation but thanks to my daughter, I now have a pint of homemade, ready to savor, dad’s special recipe, apple sauce, and along with it, a chance to bask in the memories it has evoked. Memories of being that eight year old kid, sneaking down the stairs , and sneaking a peak of my dad as he worked side by side with my mom as they canned more than just food for the winter, but memories for a life time.

You’ll have to excuse me now, I have a bowl of warm applesauce and cream waiting on my evaluation.


  1. Susan Shepherd · October 26

    Tremendous memory! Thanks Ken!


  2. Beth · October 28

    Hi Ken, Thanks for thinking of me. I don’t know if you’ve seen my posts about my grandmothers-both were gone before I was born, but I was named for both and born on my Grandma Spaanem’s birthday. Elizabeth Ann Bilse (dad’s mother) and Betsie Ann Spaanem (mother’s mother). It was Betsie Ann’s birthday I was born on. Needless to say, I appreciate your stories. Traditions often skip a generation so know that your apple sauce tradition is in good hands. Things are difficult in my corner of the world these days. I was informed that I have IBS and have had it for some time. I saw a different doctor this week so hope the change in one prescription and the addition of another will help my situation. Prayers appreciated. Hi to Deb. A fellow Pisces, Beth Sent from my iPad



  3. Beth · October 28

    Please let me know that you received my comment. Thanks.


    • kwundrow · October 28

      I did and thank you for sharing your memory. I do pray for the best it can be for you. Know that, always. Traditions are history’s way of writing itself for the generations. I love that my daughters cherish my traditions all the while creating their own. Speaking of that, I still think of you with every rock my grandchildren pick up to take home! ❤ Be well my friend.


      • · October 28

        So great to hear from you. You’re one of my favorite people. ❤️

        Sent from my iPhone



      • Beth Elver · October 29



      • Beth · November 2

        Thanks for y our comments, Ken. We Pisces are thoughtful people. Hi to Deb.


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