Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving...Pie my eye

 Hoping no one notices a few pieces missing.
For most people Thanksgiving is just the precursor to Christmas, jump started by stuffed turkey, football, and black Friday. Not for me. I don't do cards, shop, put up a tree, or hang the lights. I'm not thinking Christmas. Thanksgiving is my holiday to rock.

I love Thanksgiving's simplicity. The story of the pilgrims and Indians feasting together (even though I bet present day school texts will have twisted the story, I'm sticking with what I learned in school).  Giving thanks with friends and family. And food. Lots and lots of food. What's there not to love?

Every other year Thanksgiving is at our house and I take the whole week off work. I play the domestic. I get projects done I normally don't have time to do when I'm working. I get the house ready for whatever size crowd we have coming. This year, it's 23. Other years we've had over 30. I delegate what everyone is bringing. I do the turkey and trimmings. And, I bake pies and rolls from scratch like my grandma did.

Grandma O'Hara got me to love baking. During school breaks, I'd get to spend a few nights at her house. What I remember is when we weren't watching the Lawrence Welk Show, she'd be teaching me to bake.

We started with pies. Grandma was the world's best pie maker.  She showed me the fine art of making crust. To make a flaky crust she told me to mix it quickly or it would be tough, not flaky. You'd know it was right when you could form it into a ball and it would crumble slightly around the edges when pressed. 

I've made a few pies in my life, but I've never been able to master fluting the edges like she did. She'd hold the pie plate on the palm of one hand, twirling the pie around while she fluted the edges with her thumb and forefinger. When I got frustrated trying to do mine, she'd laugh and say she had just a few years of practice.
<>   <>  
Showing Paige how to make pie crust. Making a mess is a requirement in making a good pie.
As I was finishing up the pies today, I was thinking about Grandma O. She used to mutter to herself while she cooked especially if what she was making wasn't cooperating. I caught myself doing that last night, as I was showing Paige how to roll out the crust. I admit I might have even said a few swears as I was trying to work with the sticky mass. The wet crust stuck to my hands, the roller and the counter.
I told Paige, this is not the way it's supposed to work. I finally realized the problem was that I was using the wrong  shortening--creamed. I had a much better time of it after Dave went out and bought the plain old variety for me.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It's a ton of work. But I don't care. I love the time giving thanks and hanging with family and friends. And at the end of the day, it's so worth the pie.

This was taken several Thanksgivings ago when I didn't take the week off. I'm looking pretty haggard (not to mention heavier).


  1. Beautiful friend! Beautiful baked goods! Beautiful clean kitchen! <3 <3 Happy Thanksgiving Friend!!

  2. Wish you you were here. Or, I was there. Maybe one of these Thanksgivings. Two years maybe--I'll have the week off! :)

  3. "swears" - where did you pick that up from :)
    The pies look good though. Best part will be the whip cream!

  4. You caught that, huh, Amber?

    I think the pies were the best I've made in a long time. Now I know why I've had so much trouble...the crappy shortening. Also, why our cookies haven't been as good. Don't buy creamed!