apple dumplings

Years ago, my sister, Caryl read a book called “The Middle Sister”. She felt like the book was almost written for her, because she was the middle sister in our family. And the funny thing was that the girl on the book looked a lot like Caryl. They were both blond and wore braids a lot, and the facial features weren’t even too far off. It seemed like Caryl talked about being the middle sister for the rest of her pre-teenaged years.

The book was about a German family with 3 girls, which was it’s only flaw, since we had 5 girls. The middle sister was afraid of lots of things, and thought that if she had the lion’s tooth belonging to her uncle, she could be brave. Her uncle agreed to give her his lion’s tooth when she made him an apple dumpling from the sapling in their yard. That all seemed simple until her parents said they had to move from Ohio to Minnesota. Sarah Samantha, the middle sister was devastated, until her parents told the girls they could each pick one thing to take along. Of course Sarah Samantha picked the apple tree, which was transported and grew well in Minnesota…until Grasshopper Summer threatens the tree, but Sarah Samantha bravely fights off the grasshoppers to save the tree.

When the crop and Uncle Romeo finally come and her family heads to the train station to pick up Uncle Romeo, Sarah Samantha stays behind to make his apple dumpling, but two Indians, a man and a boy come to the house and eat most of the apples. She is too mad to be afraid, and she tells the Indians off, and makes them help with the apple dumpling. There are just enough apples for one small dumpling, which she trades for the lion’s tooth to make her feel brave…not realizing that she already is brave.

I don’t know if the book’s draw was the middle sister or the apple dumpling, but Caryl became obsessed with making them after that. I’m sure she made some, but the funny thing is that I don’t remember eating any of them. Nevertheless, the apple dumpling stayed in the back of my mind from that day forward, as an interesting dessert. Maybe it was because of all Sarah Samantha went through to make it, or maybe because of Caryl’s interest in them. The other day, as I was shopping for groceries at Walmart, I saw, in the frozen dessert section, none other than apple dumplings, and it took me back to the story of the middle sister and Caryl’s love of that book.

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