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Apple-Pie Order

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Words and Their Stories -- a program about special expressions. Today, the expression, "apple-pie order," meaning perfect order, very well-organized.


Nobody is sure where and when the phrase, "apple-pie order," began. Some claim New England while others say that Scottish and English writers used the phrase a long time ago. But the housewives of New England cut their apples in even slices and filled their pies with them in a well-organized way -- row upon row. As one writer said, the women of New England loved order -- everything in the right place. And this perhaps explains why it is generally believed that the expression, "apple-pie order," came out of New England.


On the opposite side of this picture is an old expression that describes wild disorder. The phrase is "apple of discord." It comes from Greek mythology. All the gods and goddesses sat around the table to celebrate the marriage of Thetis and Peleus. Discord who was a troublemaker threw a golden apple on the table to be given as a prize to the most beautiful. It was not an easy decision to make. How could one choose between Juno, Minerva, and Venus? So, it was left to Paris to decide. He chose Venus. Juno and Minerva were furious, and threatened to settle matters with him. And this brought on the long Trojan War.


The apple is older than history. It is celebrated in the folk stories of ancient countries as one of the best-loved fruits. It has also given mankind a lot of trouble as the Bible tells the story. It became a symbol of good and evil, and man lost God's goodwill because he could not resist the pleasure of eating it. He has been having a hard time ever since, and must work and sweat to eat and stay alive. There is among some a strange belief that Adam's sin in eating the apple left a mark on the front part of his throat It is called the "Adam's apple." It can be more clearly seen on men than women's throats. Adam's apple is what it is called. Beyond that, nothing is certain.


At one time, the tomato was called a "love apple," but this was a mistake. This is how the mistake happened:


In the 16th century, Spain imported the tomato from South America and exported it to Morocco. Italian traders carried it to Italy. The Italian name for it was pomo dei Moro, apple of the Moors. When French growers imported it, they thought dei Moro meant d'amour, the French word for love, and so pomo dei Moro became "apple of love." In German, it is still Liebesapfel or "love apple."


The apple has been responsible for a number of strange beliefs and superstitions. One of them is that it gives a man strong, masculine powers. If you eat apples because you like them, that is fine, but if you do so for other reasons, you may be disappointed. And if you ask if it is true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, my answer is that an apple every day will never do anybody harm.


Listening Library

Words and Their Stories
Apple | Barn | Bogus | Borntopick | Buck | Buff | Bullet | Cat | Eatcrow | Goat | Gohaywire | Haveanaxe | Hello | Indian Summer | Jockey | Jones | Logroll | Maverick | Mccoy | Muckraker | Mud | Music | Ok | Over | Philadelphia | Possum | Powwow | Scofflaw | Side | Stonewall | Sucker | Tinpanalley | Turkey | Whitehaired | Wildcat | Yankee


American Short Stories | Distinguished American Series | Edgar Allan Poe Storyteller | News Reports | Words And Their Stories