Today’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write about a favorite recipe and tie it to Thanksgiving and gratitude if possible.
You know I’m going to talk about pie, right?
My mom was the queen of pie. She made pie for every occasion. Thanksgiving, of course, but also birthdays and Valentine’s Day and any other minor holiday that inspired her. And her pies were wonderful. Beautiful and delicious and, in my view at least, absolutely perfect. So perfect that I never really wanted to learn to make pie myself because I felt like I wouldn’t be able to live up to the ones she made. Until, that is, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and I knew that if I didn’t learn to make pies like her that this simple pleasure would be gone forever.
So, on the day before Thanksgiving in 1996 I made my first pie. I chose to make mincemeat because it’s Dale’s favorite and I wanted it to bring to his brother’s house for our first Thanksgiving together. I made it in my mom’s kitchen, following her recipe, with her right by my side. I was nervous and thrilled and terrified all at the same time. And guess what? It came out great. The crust was flaky, the filling was delicious, and it looked pretty, too. I’ve made a lot of pies in the last 20 years and, while I’ve tweaked the recipe and improved my technique, no pie will ever be as special as that first one.
I think of it often, probably just about every time I make a pie. And I think of my mom and how much I miss her and wish she was here to enjoy a slice of pie with me. Sometimes I cry but mostly I smile and feel such gratitude that I was able to learn to this from my mom. There is something incredibly soul satisfying and special about making a pie for someone you love. It takes time and effort and, for me, it’s a real gift from the heart. I’ve made pies for my family, for guests when I’ve entertained in my home, for friends when they have been sick or when they have had something to celebrate. I’ve shared countless pies with soldiers at Civil War reenactments and I’ve made pies to thank someone who has done something special for me. I make all the pies for our Thanksgiving feast every year and I consider it an honor and a blessing to do this. It connects me to my mom and to every pie baker out there and I think that’s a really amazing thing.
I don’t have a specific recipe to share with you but I do encourage you to check out my pie crust 101 post if you’re feeling intimidated about making crust. It can be a bit overwhelming but if you just think of it as flour, water and Crisco, well, that takes the pressure right off. I mean, seriously, if something goes wrong just throw it out and start over. That’s the key to my success – don’t stress about it.
Pie. Make one for someone you love. They will be grateful for it.
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