...hmm, let's just say I was pretty happy when a discussion of American symbols led us from apple pie (as American as Mom, baseball, and apple pie), to WWII (as in, "Why are you going to war?" - "For Mom and apple pie!"), to the Johny Appleseed, the pioneers, the civil war, and the depression (how do you make apple pie, when apples are scarce?), which of course, led us to mock apple pie.
The funny thing was, I already had mock apple pie, or soda cracker pie, on my list of science project to-dos. It is a science project, thanks to one very special ingredient - potassium hydrogen tartrate (KC4H5O6), or in other words, cream of tarter. It helps to keep the crackers firm, and boosts up the acidity of the lemon juice, which when combined with cinnamon, and nutmeg, convinces the brain, at least the brain familiar with apply desserts, that apples must be present. That's the theory, anyway - we had to try it out for ourselves.
I made up a pie crust, and the children added 18 saltines, broken in half.
Then, we mixed together 1 1/4 cup of water, 1 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (if the pioneers, and depression era folks didn't have apples, did they have lemon juice?), 1 tablespoon of cream of tarter, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
And, we poured it over the crackers.
It didn't look very appetizing - not at all like apple pie.
But, we proceeded anyway, covering the pie with a few more strips of crust, and baking it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for just over 1/2 hour.
It certainly smelled like apple pie. By the time it was done baking it even looked like apple pie.
As for the taste - we had enough pie crust left over to make a few muffin sized pies, with real apples, for comparison...and...
If you'd like to know more about the science, and history of soda cracker pies, then click here for an excellent Squidoo post. It even contains an ode, of sorts, to cream of tarter, and some slightly different directions for the Taste of Home recipe, we used above.
It's great to be a homeschooler.