Pies, They’re Not Just for Charts
Growing up in Idaho one of the things we kids always looked forward to was going to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. She lived in a small house with my grandpa. Small was the operative word since the entire house was the size of a garage.
Somehow my grandmother was able to comfortably fit all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins in this house on Thanksgiving. As a small child it seemed comfortable. When I visit now I have to wonder if it was just my imagination that there were really that many people in this small house.
Not only did grandma have all the people there for dinner but she also prepared all of the food herself. Since I was old enough to remember my grandmother was always cooking not just for her family but for everyone.
I spent a lot of time with my grandparents spending the summer with them as they travelled and camping with them every chance I could get. Every morning I remember my grandmother in the kitchen cooking breakfast.
First my grandfather would eat then there seemed to be a never ending stream of family, friends, and people we just met that would come through her kitchen. Grandma happily stood at the stove serving food to everyone.
On Thanksgiving it was extra special. We would have the traditional turkey of course but there would be tables and tables of side dishes. Everyone had their favorite and grandma made sure she made it on this special day.
Besides all of the entrees and other side dishes my grandmother also made desserts. Her specialty was pie. My grandmother made mountains and mountains of pies. There were pies of every shape and kind that would line the counter waiting to be served after the meal.
From a very early age I gained an appreciation of grandma’s pies. They all tasted so wonderfully. My mother is a fantastic cook but the one thing she did not make was pie. Mom was always frustrated by the pie dough and after repeated failures she gave up.
This meant that the only time we ever got pie was at Thanksgiving when we went to grandmas. It became an extra special treat. My grandmother went to great lengths to make her pies and was very proud of how they always turned out.
One Thanksgiving when I was probably four years old, we went to grandma’s house as we always did. While the women were busy around the kitchen the kids were left to play. I would wander in and out of the kitchen and usually was rewarded with an olive for my finger just to get out of the way.
That was all well and good but what I really wanted was some of grandma’s pie. It was well before dinner though so the pie was off limits. I was not to be deterred; I would sneak into the kitchen and just take a small chunk of the outside crust.
The crust was always my favorite. It was so flaky and rich and tasted just perfect especially with a light dusting of cinnamon and sugar. That little chunk of piecrust was awesome and I just had to have another.
I was careful not to take from the same pie so as not to raise suspicion. I would take a small nibble then scamper out of the kitchen. It seemed like the perfect crime.
My problem was, at four I was very bad at time management. My trips in to sneak a sampling of pie crust were too frequent so that by the time dinner arrived I had actually removed all the outside pie crusts on every one of grandma’s pies.
When the time came to serve the pies, there came a horrified scream from the kitchen, “What happened to my pies!” The problem with being the oldest grandchild is the other kids were too small to successfully blame.
After her initial shock grandma laughed and it became a tradition that she would serve one pie without an outside edge of crust. I promised to leave the other piecrusts alone and she allowed me to pick at one.
Soon it became a tradition and grandma would bake an extra piecrust just for me. It became a special bond that we have shared my whole life.
When Trina and I got married she volunteered to make a pie for Thanksgiving. Trina is the only woman I have ever met who could bake pies as good as my grandmothers. I eagerly awaited the pie.
Trina made an amazing lemon meringue pie. Shortly before we left to attend Thanksgiving dinner I did what I do every Thanksgiving; I ate the outside ring of crust off the pie. Unfortunately no one warned Trina of this tradition and as she went to pack the pie she was horrified to see all the crust gone.
She immediately became emotional telling me I ruined Thanksgiving. She couldn’t possibly serve a pie with all the outside crust gone. Somehow I talked her into taking the pie anyway assuring her it was completely normal.
That afternoon as she brought out her pie sans crust apologizing; my grandmother took her aside and told the stories of how she never was able to serve a pie with crust because of me. They laughed and developed a bond that will never be broken.
So today as Trina prepares for Thanksgiving tomorrow she is in the kitchen baking pies. In the oven there are two piecrusts. One will become a pie that will be served to family and friends. The other will receive a nice dusting of cinnamon and sugar and will be reserved.
I’ll be allowed to nibble on that second piecrust and be reminded of the two women in my life that have made such a profound impact. Piecrust never tasted so good as when it is made with love.