I am not a pie maker (or is it pie baker?) Luckily my Mom took on the duties many many years ago from my Nana and is still slaving away with HOMEMADE crust y'all....and while the mincemeat filling may come in a jar (and not cheap)...the apple filling is all made with love and sharp knives and peelers and shit like that.
For me, Thanksgiving is all about the pie. Although, to be perfectly truthful, it is really all about the pie on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on into the following week after all the relatives have left and the pie leftovers remain! I can never manage dessert on Thanksgiving night. There is just not enough room even in my generous belly after picking and feasting and drinking and picking some more on all the goodness that is Thanksgiving dinner at our house. How many meals do you get turkey, two kinds of potatoes, three kinds of bread, and casseroles that are topped with so much salty and sweet crunchy stuff you almost forget there are veggies underneath. This twisted all you can eat holiday is such an iconic American day...we are all about TOO MUCH TOO FAST. And in this meal, we get it all, and more.
So while I think my mom may feel sometimes her work on the pies is not appreciated when everyone pushes back from the table and heads to the couch with a groan and the distinctive "snap" and "zip" indicating the pants just gave out...I must assure her (and have on numerous occasions), that it is not the main event meal that I care about.
It is, and always will be, the leftovers.
The promise of delicious delicacies as yet untasted even after the great and celebrated thanks have been given. The reheated wonder of food that has gained in flavor after cooling and warming again and reinvented itself in a day-after sandwich. And the barely touched pies...that taste all the sweeter after an extra day of anticipation on the taste buds.
A few years ago, there was a pie incident. Or should I say a pie travesty. My mom...ever conscious of the perfection she expects when she cooks...was dismayed at the quality of the crust of the apple crumb top pie. "It's soaked through!" she wailed. "It's falling apart and just a mess...." I assured her that it didn't matter that it might look like applesauce and crumbs on a plate under ice cream. To some this may have seemed like I was trying to placate her....to kindly give a white lie to save her from being upset by her less than stellar contribution to the holiday meal. NOT TRUE! I was lip-smacking sure it was yummy yummy yummy and I could just taste the sweet-tart taste of the granny smith apples warmed slightly with a melting topping of french vanilla that was promised for tomorrow.
But when tomorrow came, I opened the cupboard to find...NOTHING. No pie. I opened the adjacent cupboards. Had I mistaken where we had put the leftover pies?? Had they been moved?? As I glanced around the room with mounting panic, my eyes came to rest on the counter next to the sink. Propped on a tea towel was the saddest sight I had ever seen. An empty glass pie plate clean and glistening in the sunlight streaming through the window.
WHERE. IS. THE. PIE?????? I hoped and hoped that the pie had simply been moved to a leftover container and my mom was just preparing to take her valuable glass pie plate home with her.
"Oh, that mess...." mom said, "I threw it out...it wasn't right how the crust was soaked through."
AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHH! My once a year pie eating weekend was crushed. I never let my mother forget that day. Every year since I have threatened bodily harm should the pie disappear into the garbage. I've even considered a combination lock or a sensor alarm on the cupboard that would help me save the pie if my mom even thought about committing that crime again. I still can't believe she threw out three quarters of a perfectly awesome calorie fest.
Fast forward to present day. That memory is still haunting me (as if you couldn't tell). But today mom emailed me that she was working on the pie crusts. And I am telling you right now. Crumbled or not. Soaked through or not. I'm eating pie this weekend. Just try and stop me.