Image stolen from a Motts ™ ad. Buy some so I don’t have to feel guilty!

You can buy cider in the supermarket. It isn’t really cider, so far as I can tell, but you can buy some. Just don’t think you have any idea what cider is if that’s what you’ve been drinking as cider. That stuff tends to be clear, like apple juice (which it probably is) and also it tastes, well, it doesn’t taste very much compared to the real thing. It’s okay, but meh!

So, what is cider? First, it’s a blend of more than one kind of apple. It used to be that each orchardist had their own secret blend of apples that they used to make cider. In fact, that’s probably still true today, but most people don’t visit orchards to buy their cider. Once you’ve selected your apples by variety and proportion, you chop them up fine and let the resulting pile of apple mush sit for a few hours. It turns brown, and when it’s brown enough it’s time to squeeze the juice out of it. That juice, which will be a bit cloudy and taste marvelous, is now cider. If you let it sit around it will ferment and have alcohol in it. That’s hard cider. If you distill hard cider you get an apple flavored liquor, and that’s Applejack. For supermarket cider, it won’t do to have it ferment (at all) so it is filtered and/or pasteurized, so it is clear like apple juice. I suppose that supermarket stuff was actually cider for a few minutes, but, meh!

America today is like those varieties of apples just before they get shredded. Bunch of colors and flavors, not mixing together very well just now. But, of course, it’s time to chop it all up and let it age for a while, right? Okay, I’m straining the metaphor a bit now. But I do think that the rough times we’re going through are a lot like getting society shredded, but that after it’s over, there will be some pretty fine results squeezed out of us. I’m an optimist, which you honestly wouldn’t know by talking with me, but I am. Every 80 years more or less we come to the end of the world as we know it. Here we are. And I feel fine. I just hope that people don’t try to make the juice all nice and clear and Wonder Bread with mayonnaise worthy. The blend is what makes the cider taste great, and that’s been true every time we’ve ended the world as we know it. This time, maybe the word “people” can be expanded to include, oh, I don’t know, “People?” I sure hope so. I mean it, I truly hope so.

Meantime, I have a new jar of real cider to enjoy, and that’s just what I’m going to do.