According to its website, Meals on Wheels Atlanta served 519,000 meals in 2019, providing not only nutrition and sustenance but also human interaction and companionship. Pre-pandemic, the organization made deliveries three to four times a week; now that is down to once a week for safety reasons. While the food part of the group’s mission has continued to be fulfilled, the human part has suffered. “The seniors rely on those volunteers for companionship and a point of human contact for the day,” says Hillary Baker, the chapter’s chief marketing officer. “Many of them haven’t talked to anybody else [in person] in months.”
With increased food insecurity across the country, demand for the organization’s services has only grown. According to Baker, the organization expects to have served more than 600,000 meals by the end of 2020, and more than 300 seniors are on the waitlist due to a lack of funding and operational capacity. The nonprofit organization plans to break ground on a new commercial kitchen in February to triple capacity, and hopes that with André 3000 encouraging people to support Meals on Wheels via his “quick lil’ apple pie” recipe, the financial burden will lessen too.
The recipe itself calls for nothing more than canned biscuit dough, applesauce, butter and optional salt. Admittedly, I had some difficulty assembling the hand pies as written. Simply folding flattened biscuit dough over a spoonful of applesauce didn’t quite work for me. Instead, I cradled it in my hand and then pinched the edges with my fingertips to keep the applesauce from oozing out of the pastry as I tried to trap it inside its doughy cocoon. Then I crimped the edges with a fork for presentation before baking until golden.
The result was exactly what one would expect based on the ingredients: nothing remarkable. But as he raps in the Outkast song “Gasoline Dreams,” “Don’t everybody like the taste of apple pie?” On the basis of apples baked with dough, this recipe delivers. However, I’d recommend a dash of cinnamon mixed into the filling along with some extra sugar (particularly if you use no-sugar-added applesauce) for more of that apple pie flavor we all know and love. Perhaps a sprinkle of granulated sugar on the pies before baking or a dusting of confectioners’ after to account for the outsize ratio of biscuit to apple filling would bring the dish more solidly into dessert territory. And leave out the salt; it’s savory enough as is.
Making this recipe didn’t produce spectacular results, but I don’t think that was the point. Raising awareness about Meals on Wheels and lonely and food insecure seniors is, because “the whole world loves it when you’re in the news.” But if you do make it and want to see which member of Outkast is a better cook, then check out another recipe that’s part of the initiative: Big Boi’s video for banana pudding.
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