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 yet critical take on the book. More than anything, they are reinforcing the mythology 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.