Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs + Apple Picking = Kids Off The Couch

When we watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, our kids caution "Don't eat the apple" but alas, Snow White bites it every time. Our Popcorn Adventure this week combines two classics - Walt Disney's first full-length animated film, which earned him an Honorary Academy Award (featuring one big statue and seven smaller ones) and the timeless family adventure of picking apples.

Walt's gamble - that families would sit in the theaters and watch a 90-minute animated film - changed family movie going. The simple fairy tale storyline was familiar, but the memorable, chipper music and adorable dwarfs with their quirky characteristics defined a genre that has become a part of our lives. Walt's princess-and-her-coterie brainchildren were an immediate sensation in 1937 and continue to "whistle while they work" for the studio; Disney's marketing dwarfs devised a schedule to re-release the masterpieces over time (they're not all available in stores), and this week marks Snow White's turn. We say, grab it now for holiday giving, or to inspire this week's adventure. (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Rated G, 83 minutes; re-release October 6, 2009).

The evil Queen is one smart lady, picking a fruit known to be irresistible since the beginning of time. How could Snow White resist? A luscious, shiny apple is nectar for the soul. As the air cools and the days grow shorter, we crave apple cider, baked apples, and apple pie - in other words, anything warm with an aroma that screams "cuddle-up-in-front-of-the fire!". Before we hunker down for winter, we head to the outskirts of town to stock up by picking apples in local orchards. An ancient sense of celebration pervades these farms, as families come from everywhere to harvest the knobby, crooked trees. Our kids race from tree to tree, competing to see who fills their bucket first. The youngest ones truly look for the low-hanging fruit and search among the grounded apples for the perfect fallen treasure. It's a mark of maturity when each child grows tall enough to maneuver the 'picker' and reach the Snow White-worthy apples at the tip top of the tree. Everyone lugs back buckets overflowing with so many apples that we scatter a trail of them behind us.

Usually, the closest we come to real farmers is the weekly produce market - so our favorite u-pick orchards are local, family-run operations where we can spend the day picking and chatting about the weather like old hands. U-Pick fruit farms abound, all over the country, so click on this nationwide Pick-Your-Own-Fruit website (or Google U-pick and your town), and pack a lunch for the car ride. We've experienced the vagaries of farming - some years the apples are gone in just a matter of days, but the next year farmers stand on the country road waving the public to come and help with a bumper crop. We always leave with a stash of delicious snacks, meals and desserts -- all of which taste better because we picked 'em!

Don't let all your hard work go to waste! Martha Stewart, our trusty kitchen guru, has an arsenal of sweet and savory recipes to ensure our golden apples wind up inside a mouth-watering concoction--try your hand at her cinnamon scented apple crisp for the perfect holiday treat, or whip up the curried apple soup for a belly-warming, seasonal delight.

Kids Off The Couch
If you like what we do, please tell a friend to sign up!