Bad Pie and Leprechaun Hats

Tuesday, March 17

Listening to "Where Do We Go From Here," Mat Kearney

I'm used to assigned readings.
As a grad student, assigned readings are pretty much my life. But I recently received an interesting assignment from my mother and from my step-dad's mother, Marti.

Marti and her husband Dave are lovely people, and they're really, really fun. Dave is a retired minister and Marti is one of the most skilled knitter/quilter/crafters EVER. She's very inspiring and very sweet-- would drop her needles to help you with your project in a second. They live in the beautiful mountains of Virginia but visited this weekend on the way up from their Florida vacation. They're just a joy to be around!

Imagine my surprise, then, at this joke aimed at my first pie's expense:

Dave: "This pie isn't half bad... [dramatic pause, then with emphasis] It's ALL Bad!"

Did I mention he's a retired minister? Yet, this sweet, sweet man was so taken aback by my awful baking that he was able to muster up a mean-spirited jaunt at my pie.

That's how bad it was.

My first-- and failed-- pie attempt.

Other Jaunts--

"Do I have to finish this?" -My Mother
"Did you add salt instead of sugar?" - My Step-Dad Tom

Me: But Matt (my boyfriend) said he didn't think it was that bad!!
Marti, to Matt: You need to work on being more honest with one-another!

The filling wasn't mixed well (I was afraid of over-mixing it! Like with pancakes, they always tell you not to over-mix even if there's still little lumps. Apparently... not the same with pie. Apparently, you kinda need to muscle-power-mix or get a mixer.) and I let it bake too long (it didn't look done! then all the sudden... it was REALLY done). Plus, Melanie REMINDED me that the recipe asked for a little too much salt, and told me to tone it down. She commented on MY BLOG and REMINDED ME not to use too much salt-- what more can you ask for?!-- and I used too much salt.


So, my assigned reading.
It's Joy of Cooking, the section on pies. Apparently, it's the numero uno of all food books, cooking and baking.

Here's my Mom's and Marti's words of wisdom--

Baking isn't like cooking. You can't throw together ingredients the same way. There's a science behind it, a chemistry, to why certain ingredients have to be added at certain times and in certain ways. You need to understand that science before you can really understand baking.

But I did say Marti is a sweetheart, and she really is. So of course, she wouldn't let the night end on a bad note.

"But your crust is good-- and that's the hardest part!"

Well, at least I've got that going for me.

And, I must admit-- the mixing, the joy of using a rolling pin, the flour everywhere-- pie making is FUN. I'll try again sometime.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The 5 year old I nanny and I made a leprechaun hat for her doll out of computer paper and leftover tissue paper.

Gotta love kids.



Susie on March 17, 2009 at 9:44 PM said...

At least your first pie was edible. Sorta. The next one will be better and I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. I wanted to thank you for always leaving comments on my blog that make me smile!
Oh and Bria may well be the cutest leprechaun I have ever seen. And I've seen some cute ones!

Mom on the Run on March 17, 2009 at 11:26 PM said...

I give you credit for attempting pie. I have never because I am truly terrified of baking.

jessinohio on March 17, 2009 at 11:31 PM said...

I started out with baking, and now that I've learned how to cook - usually making it up as I go along, I realize how much more difficult baking is. I've made cakes missing ingredients before so I know how it feels. There are pictures of a friends' not so good cake, but luckily this was pre-blogging lifetime.

I got a copy of "How to Cook Everything" as a gift and I've found it to be great for cooking and baking.

Rebecca on March 18, 2009 at 5:24 AM said...

Well, the crust is indeed the hardest part, and you've got that down on your first try, nice work! All you've got to do now is find a filling that's more accommodating. I can't wait to here about more pie experiments.

Thanks for your nice comments about my cabling, I had so much fun doing it and couldn't put it down, which is why I think I got it done so fast (plus I have small hands, always a bonus as it means small gloves!)

How's the bag coming?

Ace on March 18, 2009 at 8:58 AM said...

Oh well, the pie making will come! Don't give up though!

jeremyandgirls on March 18, 2009 at 9:58 AM said...

I completely feel your pain. I have staple things that I'm a whiz at baking, then there are things (for some reason) that I CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME make if my life depended on it. Rice Krispie treats (I know! There's no baking!!) and Brownies.
I'll share an ingredient mishap - I was making cornbread to go with dinner. People were coming over and I was showing off my skills. I even bought a cast iron pan that had corn cob shapes in it! So, I mix, they bake, and I serve. Everyone person spit it out!! I was so mortified that I bit into one and spit it out too!! I couldn't figure out what went wrong. Then, there it was, I used baking soda instead of baking powder. Doesn't sound like such a big deal, but it SO was! They didn't rise and tasted awful!!
No one is immune, I promise!!

stephchows on March 18, 2009 at 10:11 AM said...

Learning to cook and bake is always so much easier when you have an experienced person showing you the way. I give mad props to people who are just learning after/during college. I grew up with my Mom Dad and Nana all cooking in the house, we have pictures of me at age 2 on a stool making pizza dough with my dad, haha. So keep it up and read/ learn as much as you can from others! It's totally the best way. And always know that EVERY cook/baker has had some fantastically awful food come out of their kitchens hehe :)

Donna-FFW on March 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM said...

I bet your second attempt will be much better. I still cant make a pie crust that is worthy. Youre doing a great job! I can tell you really enjoy it.

Burp and Slurp~! on March 18, 2009 at 12:45 PM said...

lol! it's great that someone is honest about their failed baking! but don't give up! if it's any consolation, it actually looks pretty good!

Sarah on March 18, 2009 at 5:41 PM said...

The crust IS the hardest part! The few times I've made a pie, I've always messed up on the crust (hence, all the advice from my Mom and sisters...) but I always got the filling right. Ha! You and I should make pie together, we'd make something that people don't make fun of!

My Achilles Heel has always been cake. I don't know what I do wrong, but 75% of the time, my cake falls. No idea why.... I guess I'm just cursed. on March 18, 2009 at 7:23 PM said...

Wait, what kind of pie was it? Looks like apple. You'll get it next time. It's all a learning curve! Pies can be tricky, but focus on your favorite pie and get that one down first. Then the rest should be easier to tackle.

knitseashore on March 20, 2009 at 10:55 AM said...

You get big props for trying pie -- that's an awfully hard dessert to start with! Maybe cake would be easier? I'd suggest cookies, but I'm a miserable failure at those. Hang in there!!

Melanie on March 21, 2009 at 10:40 PM said...

I'm so sorry your first pie was not a raving success--but really glad you had fun making it! Covering your entire kitchen in flour is one of my favorite parts! If it makes you feel better, I made a pie today for my Dad's 50th birthday and the filling ended up only filling the pie shell was a very funny, crust-heavy experience! Well, I hope you try pie-making again!

Sebastian on March 29, 2009 at 10:06 PM said...

That looks like a mighty fine slice of pie, I have to say...

But don't give up; I look forward to seeing future attempts.

And as a man that can crochet (don't tell anyone!), I also look forward to watching your knitting adventures!

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