The Apple Orchard

When I was a very young boy my mom and dad and little sister would go to rural Ohio to visit my aunt and uncle. When we got there it was lunch time. My aunt told my uncle to go out to the apple orchard and bring something back to eat. By and by my uncle returned. My aunt made paprikash which is a Hungarian stew usually made with chicken.

When lunch was ready we all sat down to eat. The paprikash was very hot and spicy with little pieces of meat in it. I asked what kind of apples were in the stew? Mom looked at me and said the stew didn't have any apples in it. I said, "I thought my uncle went to the apple orchard to pick apples for the stew. I saw him bring back a big bag filled with apples. So where did the meat come from? Were the little pieces of meat worms from the apples?"

All the adults at the table stared at me as if I had a few loose screws in my head. After all, I thought, what kind of meat comes from apples? It has to be worms. "Apples do have worms." I told my mother. All the older people laughed and laughed.

Again I asked my mother what kind of meat was in the stew. I was a persistent little guy. I wanted an answer! My aunt finally answered my question. She really didn't want to tell me and the other children that the meat was freshly shot with my uncle's .22 rifle and it was squirrel. My aunt knew we children loved to watch the squirrels run around the yard and didn't want us to know what was in the stew. My uncle had placed the squirrel in the bottom of the bag so we wouldn't know. Anyhow I thought the stew tasted very good. I'll never forget Aunt Shirley's apple orchard paprikash.

Bruce Leigh

Bay Village

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Volume 5, Issue 16, Posted 9:22 AM, 08.06.2013