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New Cookbook Celebrates The Glorious Apple

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Amy Traverso loves apples. She channeled her passion into “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook,” which hit stores this month.

The book features 100 recipes that make apples the star of every course. From cocktails to crumbles, cooks can find great ways to enjoy their bounty of apples.

The book offers solid recipes for the basics (Apple Pie with Crumb Topping, Classic Applesauce), new spins on popular dishes (Chicken Waldorf Salad, Oatmeal-Apple Pancakes) and some gotta-try-this creations (Apple and Chestnut–Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Sauce, Gravenstein Apple-Raspberry Tart).

Traverso also digs deep into the history of the apple. Her book also provides a thorough guide to dozens of apple varieties, including SweeTango.

Traverso, a lifestyle editor at Yankee magazine in Boston, took some time this week to answer a few question about her book, which is available via her website. The book lists for $29.95 and is available online via Amazon and other online retailers for $18.59.

Q: Why is the apple worth an entire cookbook?

Apples are so fascinating! When I started working on this project, I thought it would be a little 50-recipe cookbook, but once I began researching the history of apples—how they spread all over the world and played such a huge role in American history—and then began tasting dozens of varieties all over the country…I couldn’t stop! Honestly, I think I could write a second apple cookbook with entirely new material.

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Q: What surprised you as you researched the book and gathered recipes?

The single most surprising thing was learning that apples are not native to this country. Apples are so American that you’d think that there were wild orchards growing on the shores of Massachusetts, but the sweet apples we eat today actually have their origins in the wild fruit forests of western Asia.

Q: Are you seeing a growing awareness and appreciation of apples and the range of varieties in the U.S.?

Yes. There’s both a growing interest in antique and heirloom varieties and an excitement about newer varieties like Jazz, Honeycrisp, and SweetTango. But isn’t it interesting that even the most casual shopper understands that apples are varietal fruits? Strawberries and bananas come in different varieties, too, but only apples have earned the right to be identified by name.

Q: What are two or three varieties that you enjoy and how do you use them?

Two unusual apples that I love are the Calville Blanc d’Hiver, a gorgeous French variety that is the official apple for tarte tatin, and Pink Pearl, a pink-fleshed apple from northern California that dates back to the 1940s.

Q: And finally, have you tried SweeTango? What do you think?

I honestly think it’s a fantastic apple, with great mix of sweetness, acidity, aromatics, and juiciness. These newer breeds really appeal to contemporary palettes. I think of them as the apple equivalent of a really great, big, juicy California wine. I think they’re reintroducing people to the joys of eating fresh apples.

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