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My recently published book, Apple Pressings, is available now on Amazon in Kindle, soft and hardcover versions, as well as on Barnes & Noble.com, and other major book websites.

Below is a new review of my book by Chris Schultz, a talented journalist in southeastern Wisconsin.

Good luck, and good reading, as we all strive to survive and find some distraction from the virus scare.

Charles Ebeling squeezes hard truths from the fruit of knowledge in book of essays.

 

WALWORTH — When it comes to the history of french fries, Chuck Ebeling is the go-to guy.

Ebeling spent 15 years as chief spokesman for McDonald’s, a major purveyor of the sliced spuds, retiring as vice president of corporate communications and chief spokesperson.

Ebeling writes that what makes the french fry so American is that it was brought to our shores by none other than Thomas Jefferson. Our second President served the fried potato treats during Presidential dinner parties. And the “f” in french fry should not be capitalized. The french describes how the potato is cut lengthwise, called frenching.

Ebeling has collected those and other facts and observations into a book, “Apple Pressings: Squeezing Potent Truths from Sweet Bits of Knowledge.”

The book’s title comes from the name Chuck and wife Vicki Ebeling gave to their rural Walworth home, Applewood Lodge.

The property has 200 apple trees. Ebeling said that he bought a hand-operated apple press with the aim of making his own apple cider. However, he confesses, apple pressing process is so hard (“sweat busting” is how he describes it) that the press has collected more dust than apple juice over the past few years.

But Ebeling’s word processor remains active.

“I came to think of these writings as the apple pressings of my mind,” Ebeling says in his introduction.

“Apple Pressings”  is the collection of 15 essays that Ebeling did as a member and later president of the Chicago Literary Club from 2005 to 2019. Members write essays which are then read during weekly literary club meetings from October through May.

The club doesn’t require members to write an essay a year, but Ebeling said he set that goal for himself. Ebeling is still a member, but he said he’s going to slow down on the essay writing.

Ebeling’s first essay for the literary club was “French Fried – From Monticello to the Moon,” his reflections on America’s favorite side order.

It is also the first selection in “Apple Pressings.”

According to Ebeling, the french fry originated in the Meuse Valley of Belgium.

But that’s a subject for another chapter.

This is not a book that one has to read from cover to cover. A reader can just casually dip in and sip from “Apple Pressings.”

Just be prepared to be amazed and moved by Ebeling’s experiences and observations.

Ebeling’s life and studies has given him plenty of topics and material to choose from.

Here are reflections on our Electoral College system of selecting a president, what it’s like to have dinner with one of the original McDonalds and an unusual encounter with a cheetah who perched on the hood of  Ebeling’s safari vehicle and posed for pictures during a visit to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve.

And he’s not afraid to turn the light on his own life, particularly his service as a U.S. Army  information officer during the Vietnam War.

The broad variety of topics covered in “Apple Pressings” reflects the broad experience of its author.

Ebeling earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. After serving in the U.S. Army’s information office, where he attained the rank of major,

Ebeling took a public relations jobs Allstate Insurance, Toyota USA Corp., and the pharmaceutical giant, Baxter International.

But he’s best known for his public relations and marketing work for McDonald’s.

“Apple Pressings” is available on Amazon.

My new book  — Apple Pressings — of essays presented before the Chicago Literary Club is now available for ordering, in a paperbound edition. Hardcover coming soon. To order, go to Amazon and then Books; the title is Apple Pressings.  For an even better buy, go the Barnes and Noble’s website, http://www.bn.com and search for Apple Pressings.

If you are a curious person like me, you may enjoy what Samuel Johnson called these “loose sallies of the mind.” Come with me to find out about the “Masai Mara Hood Ornament” we met in deepest Kenya, or the two billion candlepower beacon that once guided aircraft to Chicago, or what is going on with the Electoral College that really elects our Presidents, or how Toyota beat out VW and Detroit in the small car competition, or how Abraham Lincoln’s son became the top corporate magnate of his era, or what really went on in Vietnam in 1968, or the ins and outs of spokesmanship in “Smoke Smoke,” or how we went off the deep end with open offices, or an insider’s relationship with Dick McDonald who designed the Golden Arches, or how the ubiquitous french fry became a global cultural symbol, or what it was like to do public relations during the growth explosion of one of the greatest brands of all time.

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My first book will be published within the next month or so, and it is an anthology of my essays presented before the famed Chicago Literary Club in each of the 15 years I have been a member. Most of these were presented after club dinners at the aptly-named Cliff Dwellers Club, on the 22nd story, overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan.

The topics of the essays range widely: from fries, to Kenya, to Toyotas, to beacons, to Sam Johnson and James Boswell, to political colors, to spokesmanship, to changing office culture, to Belgium frikots to breakfast with Mr. McDonald, to name a few.

Below is my Introduction to APPLE PRESSINGS. Stay tuned for more, as publication approaches.

 

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

I came to think of these writings as the apple pressings of my mind.

In making apple cider, pressings are the remains of the crushed apples after the juice is squeezed out by a press. The essays herein were written at our Wisconsin retreat, Applewood Lodge, thus named because there are more than 200 apple trees of miscellaneous lineage spread across the property. They, or their antecedents, were likely planted by the owners of the fairly ancient house, now reduced to an overgrown foundation of large boulders, which once stood near the entrance,

Not long after Vicki and I acquired Applewood and built our weekend country house in 1989, I put together a traditional hand-operated wooden apple press, in hopes of teasing succulent fresh apple cider from the red, green and yellow apples adorning our trees every fall. Grinding the apples was sweat-busting work, thus the press has now been resting unused in our storage shed for some years.

Just as the pressings – also known as pomace or must – are what is left after the precious juice is squeezed from those hardy apples – these essays are the essence of what remains in the wake of travels, research and reflecting. The yield is these 15 essays, each completed annually between 2005 and 2019, under the auspices of the renowned and historic Chicago Literary Club, of which I’ve been a member over that time.

As for the back story of this compendium, I was invited to join the Literary Club by John Notz, a Lake Geneva friend who noted an article I’d written for a local newspaper about the winter mountain hut restaurants that Vicki and I ravenously visited in our ski trips to Arosa, Switzerland, from the late 1970’s through the early 2000’s. Each of the subsequent Literary Club essays here is also preceded by a short back story on why or how I came to think it worth writing.

I retired from a full-time career in public relations at the stroke of the Millennium, at the tender age of 56. I felt like a 16-year-old on summer vacation, but with a somewhat larger allowance. Yes, I have since been guilty of filling my time with an abundance of leisure activity, but I’ve also become active with several not-for-profit organizations, founded two university award programs in cause-related community relations, and done some travel and writing, much of it here, with the Literary Club.

My sweet wife of more than 40 years, Vicki, has served as my more-than-willing editor and grammatist, and our aptly-named cat, Cider, has often trod the keys in attempts to add his random edits. Each essay indicates the date presented before the Literary Club, and is reproduced as it was presented.

I hope you enjoy these sometimes-tasty, and always tart apple pressings, dried and ready for you to read, inside the covers of this non-edible volume. You might even consider it “must” reading. A glass of crisp apple cider might help them go down all the more smoothly. So, cheers, and enjoy!

 

 

 

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