The American Cider Book
Author and founder of the Vermont Country Store, Vrest Orton (1897 - 1986) worked for H. L. Mencken on The American Mercury and published more than a dozen books. The American Cider Book is a charming and folksy overview of cider, cider making and the use of cider in America. In a book published in 1973, Orton covers old-time and modern cider making. To the modern reader, many of Orton's old-time techniques are really old and his modern techniques are still old. In the process he conveys the importance cider had in the founding and growth of the United States and the role it played in American culture. Orton's idea of the ideal cider is not the mass marketed cider one buys in cans from the grocery store. He celebrates the cider produced from the farmstead and perfected through the proper blending and mixing of apples to achieve the desired flavors. Orton gives the reader enough to produce a classic farmstead cider. More up to date techniques might produce a better cider but not a more charming one. He provides an interesting section on recipes for cider in beverages and cooking that come from a time when the cook had a ready supply of homemade cider at hand and could add cider to recipes where needed. Your grandmother or great grandmother would be right at home with these recipes based on familiar ingredients and none of which contain anything you cannot pronounce. The book may not improve your cider making but it will deepen you appreciation for this important drink and the role in played in country life. I recommend it highly.