The first real dish I ever made was at the age of 22: I baked an apple pie in a toaster oven.
This wasn't my first experience in the kitchen. I'd been making myself scrambled eggs since age 6 to accompany my morning cartoons, and I continued to cook for myself throughout college -- often times it was just more of those scrambled eggs. (I've definitely eaten my lifetime quota of eggs, and then some.)
But this apple pie was the first recipe I made that meant something. It was the first time I cooked for someone I loved. And yes, I was definitely channeling Keri Russell in the movie "Waitress."
You see, I don't really care for apple pie. I've got nothing against it. If someone serves it to me, I'd eat it. But I'd never order a slice. I'm just going to say it: if it weren't for the saving grace of "a la mode," apple pie would plummet in popularity. But my soon-to-be husband loved apple pie, and I loved him. And so I made him an apple pie, and I was straight up giddy about it.
We were living in a tiny -- really tiny -- studio in Paris, with all the best bakeries just at our finger tips. Despite this amazing luxury, my husband-to-be was lamenting the fact that the French don't make apple pie like Americans do. And the idea went off like a light in my head, I'd make him a good ol' fashioned American apple pie, one he couldn't find anywhere in Paris. And he'd just love it.
So I did. It was a simple recipe, calling for ready-made pie dough, apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon. That's it. There was no fancy lattice topping. No decorative leaves. There wasn't even a real kitchen, just a toaster oven and a cutting board.
Regardless, I was excited. I peeled those apples gleefully. I checked on the pie every couple of minutes. And watched the clock inch oh so slowly to the time I could expect him home. I was almost nervous. When I think about this pie, I can still feel what I felt that day -- I feel it in my chest, and it kind of feels like love. (Cheesy, I know.)
This wasn't be the last time I made something for my (now) husband, and I'm sure there will be many more dishes to come. But this recipe changed the way I look at cooking. It shifted it from an act of necessity to one of joy. And ever since then, I've been hooked.
This isn't the exact recipe I used for my apple pie, but it's pretty close.
Get the Easy Apple Pie Recipe
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