Arkansas

Fried apple pies like those used to be made by McDonald’s.

 

There are delicacies that I have enjoyed around the world that I will fondly recall from time to time—back door brisket at an ASU football game in September 1996, wet peaches at Peach Pickin’ Paradise in Lamar one afternoon. in 2014 a spicy Miracle Whip in a tomato-stuffed tuna salad at Mrs. Meyer’s little neighbor’s eatery across the street from our double room behind Leonard’s restaurant in Russellville in 1994.

And then there are the more mundane things that sometimes give me strong cravings for food that is now unobtainable in its original form because the method, the restaurant, or the manufacturer has gone crazy. Never again will I sit in my hometown and enjoy raspberry jam on top of salted butter on fresh soft bread at La Madelaine or a cheese sauce burger on french fries called The Pony Burger at Ed and Kay’s or the almost crispy edge of a slice of crust. turkey steak at the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse.

However, I have found that you can once again enjoy fried apple pie, similar to the blister-covered, napalm-filled packages that were called McDonald’s fried pies in my childhood.

The global juggernaut in its formative days only offered fried apple and cherry pies at stupidly low prices — two for 50 cents or so — instead of ending up working a soft ice cream serving machine to get cool, ambivalent vanilla cream on the baked. crumbly handmade cake. .

Those of us in Generation X marvel at how beautifully and crispy these afternoon delicacies rounded off a hearty meal or warmed us up on our way home from evening activities.

The fact that in my adult years McDonald’s began offering healthier food put an end to these golden rectangles. This, however, did not quell my immediate need and desire for crunch and flavor. This impulse came to me one Sunday afternoon as I was returning home from the southeast corner of our state. A quick web search caught my eye for Chicken Express of Hope with a small description of their pies available online. Me and pies have a history. While I’ve been hard at work recreating traditional pies for my upcoming 12th book, my desire to enjoy pies has once again come to the fore. Lately, I’ve dabbled in everything from minced meat to mushrooms. I don’t have an acceptable recipe for the kind of handmade pie I’ve been craving, and certainly not for that old McDonald’s pie. But I saw apple and cherry pie on the Chicken Express menu and went looking. And so, in front of me on the counter were boxes of apples and cherry pie, exactly the same as in McDonald’s.

Pies are $2.09 each and a pack of four is $5.59 — so four came out with me, and before I left the parking lot, I inhaled one, which allowed me to say… Thrust suppressed. It’s the closest thing to a 1970s fried apple pie. Hands down. It stays warm but not hot after frying for optimal consumer consumption immediately after ordering. As far as I remember, its crust has the same bubbles in high heat dough. The apples are pliable but not sticky, although a little more salt and cinnamon will make them better. I found the one I was waiting for. One that combines crisp, crust, and filling to sate that craving. At the chain. Regional network of shops. If you find that you have the same inclination, look for the chicken express along your route. Many of these franchises are located at gas stations and convenience stores, but some—like the one we looked at in The Hope—are stand-alone places. And my nostalgia was fueled all the better for it.

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