Beloved Wisconsin author and historian Jerry Apps and his daughter, author and educator Susan Apps-Bodilly, will explore the ways food shapes families and carries on legacies in an all-new television special, Jerry Apps Food & Memories, premiering 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28 on PBS Wisconsin. The program will also be available for on-demand streaming at pbswisconsin.org and in the free PBS Video App on all streaming platforms, digital devices and Smart TVs.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Waushara County during the Great Depression, Apps has extensively written and spoken about his childhood and agricultural history. Both as a longtime professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society, his writing continues to document a unique era of local history.
In Jerry Apps Food & Memories, Apps and Apps-Bodilly share family stories through food his mother, Eleanor, painstakingly prepared for the family. A companion to the Apps’ Wisconsin Historical Society Press book “Old Farm Country Cookbook: Recipes, Menus, and Memories,” the television special lovingly depicts both the challenges and nostalgia of farm life during the 1930s and ‘40s, and how those traditions live on.
Apps says, "For me food will always be associated with times of good eating, storytelling, laughter and good-hearted fun." For decades, his mother cooked on a wood-burning stove in a kitchen with no plumbing or electricity. Yet, despite the challenges of the past, Apps reminds us of a quieter period in which a simpler life seemed more satisfying.
In a time when we are losing touch with this era, Apps reflects on his legacy as an author and speaker. “If there’s one thing I’d like everybody to leave with it is, number one: The history of agriculture is important. The history of farm life is important. The history of small rural villages is important.”
PBS Wisconsin is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
PBS Wisconsin is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.