Apple Pie figures prominently in On the Road. Numerous recipes can be found online sharing different interpretations of Kerouac’s pie. Interestingly enough, these recipes are frequently accompanied by a brief take on the book. These are often anecdotal, sometimes critical, but more than anything are reinforcing the mythological dimension of an American icon. The tension between this aspect of apple pie and a novel that at one time was considered to be a countercultural textbook is hard to ignore.
Paradise is a piece that involved me following one of these recipes from Arizona to Ohio. Coinciding with a road trip that I took with my wife and daughter, I gathered ingredients while driving through each of the following states: Arizona (Spices), New Mexico (Flour), Texas (Salt), Oklahoma (Sugar), Arkansas (Crisco), Tennessee (Vanilla), Kentucky (Lemon), Ohio (Apples and Eggs). Upon arriving home in Ohio, I made an apple pie for my family.
Dietary restrictions prevented me from following the recipe exactly as it was written. I was not aiming for precision. In my case, I was interested in the way an inherited tradition can be shaped or destroyed through the private gestures of husbands and fathers.