22 November 2006

Pie are round, cake are square

Today is another glorious fall day...sunny and in the high 40's to low 50's. The kids have been in and out all morning running around and "vacuuming" the leaves with the snow shovel!

Today is pie baking day and I have an apple pie in the oven at the moment. The pie crust is the old reliable 8th grade home economics recipe. For those of you who don't know the history, I learned to make pies in 8th grade home ec and the crust turned out so nicely that I demonstrated my proficiency at home with some pies for family. Everyone was so impressed by the crust that my grandmas (who are/were both wonderful bakers of all kinds of yumminess) switched to this recipe! Anyway, in the intervening years I have made scores of pie crusts from this recipe, with consistently good results. Then suddenly, I couldn't make a nice pie crust if my life depended on it. The same recipe, the same technique, but inexplicably nothing turned out. In recent years, I even resorted to buying pre-made crusts from the grocery store. So today, with no little measure of trepidation, I dug out the old recipe to give it another try and it turned out beautifully! Well, a little iffy visually, since my crust crimping skills have rusted away to almost nothing in the intervening years, but the same old, easy to handle crust as before! After the apple is done baking, we'll try it again with pumpkin. I suspect the mystery of the moody pie crust recipe will never be solved. Oh well, as long as it is working again now...

One of my favorite things about baking (which I don't do terribly often, but enjoy it when I do) is that many of my kitchen supplies were hand-me-downs from Grandma O. We did a lot of baking together when I was younger. Not only did she teach me a lot of what she knew about baking, but she was also just an all-around special lady. I have so many wonderful memories of grandma and grandma's house growing up. Even though grandma passed away almost 11 years ago, we still bake together whenever I bake. I use her old measuring spoons, her rolling pin, her old bowls, and, in a way, she is there with me.

And finally, if anyone was wondering whether or not I was truly crazy (not that I have ever denied it), I leave you with this picture. This is what the kids were doing in the dining room while I was making the apple pie...bowls, measuring spoons and cups, a pie plate, and some sugar and cornmeal:

They had a blast! And it wasn't as bad to clean up as I had thought it might be...though I still have to vacuum! I figured there wasn't much point until the pumpkin pie is done!


Mom said...

Aaaah...you got me with your comments about Grandma O. This is the time of year I especially have fond memories, too, of baking with her. We both loved making our Christmas cookies together (with doubled recipes). These good memories are the best way to keep someone you love around...even after they're gone.

Just wish we lived close enough to not only spend the holidays together, but also bake together.

Anonymous said...

I also had a Grandma that I baked with and your remarks touched my heart because I feel the same way. I don't think there was a person who had as much influence on my life as Grandma Buck. Thanks for the memories!!!
Grandma D.