Sunday, September 11, 2011

All-American Apple Pie

On September 11, 2001, my friend Mari-Rae Sopper died.  She and her cat Sammy were passengers on American Airlines Flight 77, which was hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon.  Ten years; such a long time ago, and yet not long ago at all.

Mari-Rae was an extraordinary person and a faithful friend.  We attended law school together at the University of Denver, and following graduation she spent a few years serving in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps and settled in Washington, D.C.  On September 11, 2001, Mari-Rae was leaving her life as a D.C. lawyer to return to her true passion of gymnastics as the head coach for the women's gymnastics team at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

I know that had she made it to California that day, she would've made such an impression on that school and her athletes.  It was impossible for anyone who met Mari-Rae not to be drawn to and affected by her.

One of my favorite memories of Mari-Rae involved our planning a 4th of July celebration for our friends. When running through various menu options, Mari-Rae offered to make lasagna.

Yes, lasagna.

I protested, arguing that lasagna was not something you served people for the 4th of July.  She responded with "yes, but my mom's lasagna recipe is the best."

I don't recall what we ended up serving, but I know it wasn't lasagna.  And I regret that.  Years later, after attending her memorial service, I had her mom's lasagna at her parents' house.  It was indeed some of the best I'd ever had.

I wish I had her mom's lasagna recipe.  I would make it today and share it with you.  Instead, I made an apple pie.  An All-American apple pie.

God Bless you, Mari-Rae.

All-American Apple Pie
When I make apple pie, I like to use a combination of tart apples.  But when I was in Whole Foods today, they had only Granny Smith apples.  Something about an apple shortage until the fall harvest.



This recipe from Martha Stewart is my go-to apple pie recipe.  We topped it with homemade vanilla ice cream.  I think you should, too.

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