Monday, January 15, 2018

Roger Yepsen's Apples

Open almost any page in Roger Yepsen's Apples to find a charming tableau.

On the right-hand page is a watercolor painting of an apple, rendered by the author with reverent realism.

Facing on the left is a verbal sketch of the apple. These are not long. Several comprise only three sentences.

The images float on the white page. The text, though brief, tells the essential things you'd want to know about each variety, including origin, character, and time of peak ripeness.

When you are done with one apple, turn the page for another. There are more than a hundred of these.

Each page is only six by five inches, so that the two-page spread is the perfect frame for presenting each apple.

This catalog of apples and images is buttressed by short chapters, not illustrated, about the history and enjoyment of apples.

Yepsen starts with a nod to the broad range of this fruit, and concludes with the apple-based Jack Rose cocktail.

In between are stories, speculations, and more recipes. The book closes with a short glossary of apple terms.

The book is now out in its second edition (2017), from Countryman Press.

Some apples are notable for their exceptional harmony of flavors. Cox's Orange Pippin, Wagener, and the Chestnut Crab are some of the varieties with tastes that are not just pleasing but well composed.

The art, words, and design of this book unite in a way that is similarly whole and satisfying.


  1. Sounds like a good book to add to the library. A small coffee table book, perhaps?

  2. A gem I've given many times as a gift to apple grower friends.

  3. How does this second edition compare to the first edition? Thanks

    1. @anon, I do not own the first edition. But there are more apples and at least some of Yepsen's essays are new. All in all, the second edition is about 30 pages longer than the first.


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