” . . . a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” Most of us have at least heard Frank Loesser’s song, part of the Broadway version of Guys and Dolls, but have you ever wondered how much a bushel is? or how much a peck?
Neither unit of measure is included in standard elementary education, but both show up at the orchards and in some markets, most notably, where apples are concerned. They are units of dry measure. The bushel is equivalent to about eight gallons, and the peck is one fourth of a bushel (which makes it somewhere around two gallons)–dry measure only, mind you. We’re talking about nice and temperate quantities, here, not excessive, but not skimpy, either. Sort of puts the sentiment of the song into perspective, doesn’t it?
Apples are pretty common elements in songs and writings pertaining to love and romance and have been , dating back to the years before Christ. Consider the following:
For starters, look at Frank Loesser’s lyrics for our title song–”I love you, a bushel and a peck.” In reality, the song says absolutely nothing about apples, but it’s the one that got me thinking, so I’m including it, anyway.
“Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me . . . .” Written by Lew Brown, Charles Tobias, and Sam H. Stept, this song shortly followed the attack on Pearl Harbor. Glenn Miller recorded the song with his orchestra–one of many songs to cheer the soldiers overseas at war, reminding them of the sweethearts waiting for them at home.
In Greek mythology, Hippomenes used apples to win Atlanta’s hand. The only way to have her to be his wife was to win a foot race with her. As fast as she was, no man stood a chance, so Hippomenes dropped golden apples during the race, given to him by Aphrodite, to distract Atlanta enough that he could win.
Multiple times throughout his “Song of Songs” in the Bible, Solomon speaks of apples. The shepherd girl asks her sweetheart to “comfort me with apples.” Her sweetheart speaks often of the apple trees in his garden.
Today is February 13, which makes tomorrow Valentine’s Day. In honor of the holiday, I wanted to focus just a little on the more romantic side of apples, which led me to its use in symbolism. As an idea for tomorrow, try the following, a simple recipe that pairs apples with cinnamon, a popular Valentine’s Day spice.
Baked Apples, from LuCynda Hansen (http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Main.aspx)
- 4 tart green apples
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 4 T butter
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Scoop out the core from the top of each apple, leaving a well. Do not cut all the way through. Stuff each apple with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Place in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and apples are tender.
Just a note: several reviews of this recipe and others like it recommend pouring about a quarter inch of water around the apples before baking.
This is the aroma that will be permeating our house, tomorrow morning . . . .