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.
"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.