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When I was a little girl, one of my cousins introduced me to the Little House series of books. She had just returned from a spell in the US and had brought along the entire set with her. I was completely and totally enthralled as I read about Laura Ingalls and her Pioneer family, about farm life for the small family while America’s wild west was still being settled.

My love affair with the Little House books started once again when I came to Toronto and browsing through the shelves of the public library, found one (I’ll tell you more of my library obsession in another post). The original books had all been written by Laura Ingalls Wilder about her own childhood in the 1930s. Other authors then took up her mantle and after much research, they enriched the Little House series further by writing books about Laura’s great-grandmother Martha’s childhood in Scotland, her grandmother Charlotte’s childhood near Boston, her mother Caroline’s childhood in Wisconsin and her daughter Rose’s childhood in the apple growing areas of Missouri. A total of 32 books. I hardly need to tell you I literally devoured them all, much to Tanmoy’s complete bewilderment. Why on earth was his wife reading all these books meant for little girls? Well, guys won’t understand this, but girls are really the same, whatever age they may be. Besides, it is a testimony to how well written and engaging the entire series is, that I enjoyed it as a child and also as an adult.

What, you ask, is the point of telling you all this? Well, the series also contains a book called Farmer Boy, about Almanzo Wilder, the man Laura grows up to marry.  Today’s recipe is from this book. When Almanzo Wilder was a little boy, Fried Apples and Onions was his absolute favourite food in the whole world. References to this dish keep popping up here and there in the books and they made me very very curious. I had never considered combining apples with onions before, but it completely caught my fancy. I even figured out how I would make it, had I been Almanzo’s mommy – onions and apples sauteed in butter with a dash (or two) of pepper. Well, it’s all very well to imagine outlandish recipes in your head, but one always keeps putting it off for another day. Finally a few days ago, I decided I had to try it out or I would never know for sure if it would even work. I did however google it before actually making it and turns out its not as outlandish as I had thought and there are many many recipes available on the internet, many of which even refer to it as the recipe from Farmer Boy.

They all added sugar and most were cooked in bacon drippings – that seems to be the traditional way of making it. None added any pepper though. But all that evidence of it being a tried and tested dish gave me some confidence. I decided to stick to how I had imagined it and we totally loved it. I had forgotten that onions are actually sweet when cooked, especially when they are at that translucent stage and they compliment the tart apples wonderfully. We had salmon burgers for dinner that night, and the fried apples and onions made the perfect side dish. So take a leap of faith with me and give it a try – I would never lead you astray now, would I?

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Prep Time : 20 mins
Serves : 4


2 tart Apples, preferably Granny Smiths, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
1 medium Onion, sliced
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Golden Sugar
Ground Pepper to taste


  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until they start getting translucent.
  2. Add the apples, stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, ground pepper to taste, mix well and cook covered for 7-8 minutes stirring once or twice. Remove from heat while apples still retain some crunch.
  4. Serve warm.


The idea is to have an equal quantity of apples and onions. Slice the apples last, preferably once the onions are already in the plan to avoid them turning brown.

Do not over-cook or the apples will turn mushy. The apples should retain a slight crunch. Cooking time may vary according to variety of apples chosen, so do keep checking.