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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Vintage Pies

Happy Thanksgiving.  Our family festivities began last weekend. Our nephew Kirk, a captain and pilot stationed at McConnell Air Force base in Wichita, Kan., will make his third deployment to Qatar before Christmas, so we celebrated early with my husband’s father’s side of the family.

When my mother-in-law Diane asked last week what I might bring for dinner, my 15-year-old suggested I bring carrot cake or pumpkin pie. Great carrot cakes are bought, I told Maxwell (at Maxine’s Café & Bakery or even from Pepperidge Farm); I’ll make the pumpkin pies.

My children claim to have never seen their mother make a pie. Most families, said the youngest, bake pies all the time, like it’s no big deal.

I suppose I wanted my pies to be a big deal. The best pie recipes, I thought, will be old recipes — how pies were baked before we could buy pumpkin pie custard in a can and refrigerated crusts. I pulled out my mother’s first edition (1953) “Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook.” My pies would be vintage. I pulled them from the oven just minutes before we left for the family dinner.

Of course, the pies caused commotion on the drive. With every bump in the road, one of my boys shouted, “Oh, no, the pies!” When the hatch of our SUV was opened at our destination, they screamed as if the pies had slid to the pavement.

Our family, together for one of the few times during the year, had plenty to talk about during our celebration. But my kids also interjected their tally on the pie: “No one’s eating the pie, Mom” … “Kirk has the first piece” … “Is it burned?”

Among the thanks I will give, I’ll add thanks that my sons can no longer say I’ve never baked a pie.

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