It’s unclear just how Dr. Alexander Youman wrote with equal confidence about setting up a new beehive and finding the best homemade mascara, but he seems to have done so. Or was Mrs. Youman laboring quietly at his side?
As a lifelong New Englander I wish I could say I immediately spotted the potential typo in the title of today’s entry, but I’ve never heard of apple slum or apple slump. It seems to be a regional dish that’s still fairly common, a close (and tasty-looking) cousin to the buckles and crumbles that have become popular on the farmer’s market circuit around here. With the fluid nature of recipe titles over the years I’m not sure that we can call “slum” a error, but today this dish is definitively “apple slump.”
Youman’s recipe is painfully vague for cooks like me, who specialize in Kraft-based dishes. But for the day it was par for the course—standardized measurements and truly step-by-step recipes wouldn’t be common for another fourteen years, until the publication of Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking-school Cook Book.
It turns out that apple slump was a favorite of Louisa May Alcott’s family; a fancy calligraphy version of the recipe is even sold online and at the gift shop of Alcott’s Orchard House. A number of modern cooks have posted about their experiences with the recipe, which are fun to read—from the foodie to the traditional to the Rachel Ray (!).