Apples in the Midwestern Imagination

Presented Lucy Long, PhD

Like many Americans, Midwesterners have fond memories of apples: family apple orchards are commonplace; cider mills used to be and are returning; apple butter is a traditional way of preserving the fruit; 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 the fruit a significant part of personal histories and local food cultures.

Are apples special in the Midwest? They are thought of as a national, even patriotic, though somewhat unexciting, fruit, and other regions are actually better known as producers of the fruit. 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 directs the non-profit Center for Food and Culture ( and teaches adjunct in American studies, ethnic studies, folklore, nutrition, and tourism at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. With a PhD in Folklore and Folklife (University of Pennsylvania), she has been involved in humanities-based research on food as a medium for creating meaning, identity, and community since the 1980s. She has published extensively on food topics, including 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 Meals and Meanings (2017) and has produced numerous documentaries and community programs on a variety of food-related subjects and issues.

This program is hosted by the Greater Midwest Foodways. To reserve, please e-mail: or call 847-432-8209.

Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 10 AM
Bethany Retirement Community, 4950 N. Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Free street parking and free at Bethany Hospital parking lots
Cost: $3.

The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance is dedicated to celebrating, exploring and preserving the American Midwest’s unique food traditions and their cultural contexts.