Saturday, July 5, 2008


I never learned to cook from my Mother. She is not able to share her kitchen with anyone, nor has she any patience with a naturally messy critter like myself. When I left home, I was under the impression that Jello was difficult to make...

She did, however, make marvelous pies. They were stuffed full of fruity goodness. Back in the days before Pillsbury came out with Already Pie Crusts, she used to buy Pillsbury Pie Crust Sticks (I don't think they make those anymore.) A pie crust stick looked pretty much like a stick of margarine. Mom would put a couple into a bowl, break them up with a fork, then mix in the water and roll out a pie crust. Her pie crusts were always very thin and flat. (The better to taste the filling, in my opinion.) Once, she actually came up with a flaky crust. She was delighted. I was not, nor had I any idea that a flaky pie crust was desirable. To this day she likes to tell people that my response to my first taste was, "Eww, what's wrong with this pie crust? It's flaky."

Frankly, once I learned how to make pie crust, I never understood why she bought those pie crust sticks. All they were was a mixture of flour and lard. It's pretty easy cutting the shortening into the flour, to me the hard part is putting in just the right amount of water. I almost always make my pie crusts from scratch. Pillsbury's are convenient, but they get soggy quickly and mine are better anyway.

The Engineer loves pie. When he and I were in high school, we lived kindof across the street from each other. He and the Twin had pie radar. Every time my Mom baked a pie, she would have twins on the front porch almost as soon as it was out of the oven.

When the guys were in grad school, they firmly believed it was my job to keep them in chocolate chip cookies and pie. It became so expensive that they were required to buy the ingredients. When they complained about my pies being too small, I said, "The pies are as big as my pie pan."

They bought me a bigger pie pan.

This early training has resulted in my having a fine reputation as a pie maker. True, the circle of my fame is small, but my fans are sincere. It's flattering, I enjoy it.

Today I made a rhubarb pie for the 4th of July BBQ. Rhubarb is one of the Engineer's favorites, one of mine too.

And I don't skimp on the rhubarb, there's eight cups of it inside that pie crust.


Anonymous said...

It is as pretty as it was delicious. We were so lucky to have the joy of eating that wonderful pie along with everything else and spending time with you, A, S, M, and the furry girls! Thanks again. KC

Wunx~ said...

A dinner party is only as good as the guests and you and your spouse definately made it a good one.

bioephemera said...

I completely agree on the crust. I made a pie for my new boyfriend, the staffer, and he was most impressed by the crust - which I think is the easiest part. I don't use lard though - in my family we always used Crisco. I tried lard once and apparently I haven't got the knack for it!

Wunx~ said...

I don't use lard either, never have, don't even know where to buy it anymore. But if you're using those roll-out pie crusts (Pillsbury or store brand), look at the ingredients... (yuck!)