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Culinary Historians | Apples in the Midwestern Imagination


Sunday November 15, 2020: 4:00pm to 5:00pm




Like many Americans, Midwesterners have fond memories of apples. Family apple orchards are commonplace in the region, and cider mills used to be common and are making a comeback. Apple butter is a traditional way of preserving the fruit, while apple pies and pastries frequent many homemade and commercial tables. Johnny Appleseed is embraced as a hometown hero, and festivals frequently celebrate the fruit. These memories make apples a significant part of personal histories and local food cultures.

Are apples special to the Midwest? Some Midwestern states are top commercial producers, but apples are frequently thought of as a national fruit— a patriotic emblem at best, even if somewhat unexciting to some. This talk looks at how apples have contributed to a sense of place in the Midwest and to a collective memory that characterizes this region.

Lucy M. Long is an independent scholar and the founding Director of the Center for Food and Culture (, a non-profit organization based in Bowling Green, Ohio. With a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife (Univ. of Pennsylvania), she has been involved in humanities-based research on food as a medium for creating meaning, identity, and community since the 1980s. Dr. Long has published extensively on food topics, including the books Culinary Tourism (2004), Regional American Food Culture (2009), the Food and Folklore Reader (2015), Ethnic American Food Today: A Cultural Encyclopedia (2015, 2016), Honey: A Global History (2017), and Comfort Food: Meanings and Memories (2017). She has also produced numerous documentaries and community programs on a variety of food-related subjects and issues.

This event is in partnership with the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor. No registration is required. check this page an hour before the event for the Zoom link and phone number.

This event was held live on Zoom, and has concluded.