Dad's Apple Pandowdy

By M. K. Albus

Apple Pandowdy

When I was growing up, oh so many years ago, my father quite often mentioned something he called, 'apple pandowdy.' Like most people way back then, my family ate dinner together at the dinner table. When it was time for dessert after finishing a meal, my dad would lean back in his chair and say, "Okay, now I'm ready for some apple pandowdy."

 Whenever he said this all of us kids would laugh. Of course, we had no idea what apple pandowdy was. Our mother never once served it. She either did not know how to make it or did not care to make it. So, despite not knowing what apple pandowdy was, we kids laughed and it was basically because 'pandowdy' is s funny sounding word. I suspect that is why our father kept mentioning it. He loved words and he loved making people laugh using words. For all we knew, apple pandowdy was something he made up.

After growing up and leaving home I never thought about apple pandowdy again and I never heard it mentioned by anyone until the other evening while dining out. It was an older gentleman sitting at the next table who said it. I was not listening to the conversation at the next table so I have no idea what context the man used the term in. But my ears picked up the two words, 'apple pandowdy' as though the gentleman had yelled them. I had not heard those two words in over forty years and hearing them again was like hearing an alarm go off.

Maybe my dad was not making it up.

So I did some cyber sleuthing to find out just what the heck apple pandowdy was and I found out that it was once a very popular dessert in America many years ago. My father grew up in Pennsylvania and that is why he called it, 'apple pandowdy.' If he had grown up in South Carolina he would have called it, 'brown Betty.' Apple pandowdy and brown Betty are essentially the same thing.

So I finally learned what apple pandowdy is. It is a dessert utilizing old stale bread layered with apple slices sweetened with brown sugar or molasses. It is a dessert made with what was usually on hand in the kitchens of America in the 1800's and early 1900's. No doubt my father had eaten plenty of apple pandowdy as a kid.

But to this day I have never eaten it. Oddly, I have no burning desire to. Perhaps I subconsciously fear that actually eating apple pandowdy will change the memory of the name burned into my noggin. Perhaps when I hear the term, 'apple pandowdy,' I would rather think about my father and luxuriate in the memories of him making us all laugh than think about an actual food.

© Copyright by M. K. Albus. All Rights Reserved.

See other articles by M. K. Albus: Using Roses in the Kitchen - The Wonders of Kale - Dogs and Nuts Are Not a Good Mix - A Taste of Paprika - Food and Vibration