Pre-Gluttony, Pies, and Kick-Ass Women

The office closed at 2:00 today, and I was out the door at 2:01. (Sadly, I was dragging with me a few projects to work from home on Friday, but in my mind it’s a 4.5 day weekend I’m starting. And Friday I have the option not to work should I find myself bloated like a ripe-melon and unable to move in the morning. I feel like I can’t lose here.) Stopped on the way home for wine–beaujolais nouveau is back!–and ice-cream. Tonight Chuck is in charge of shelling pecans and we are going to make a pie.

Pecan pie is a sensitive issue in my family. Only my grandmother’s recipe is acceptable. It’s grade is weighted heavily on “chewiness.”  Crusts are more an afterthought than part of the equation: you don’t lose any points for buying them from the store, or gain many from making your own. (Although, when I revealed this secret to my baking obsessed co-worker, I think a lone tear fell from her eye.) Note that this is a strict rule governing only pecan pie.  For other pies, it is perfectly acceptable to buy the whole pie from the store. I once commented on this to my mom in front of my step-grandma, who stepped in with a smile and said, “You’re mom’s just using an old family recipe.”

The woman in my family are workers first, domestic goddesses second. My aunt might not be able to roast a chicken, but she can design and sign off on plans for new green buildings. My mom hasn’t knitted a stitch in 50 years, but she founded a company. As for grandma: she can’t sew, bakes well from boxes, and served as a Navy WAVE.  And my step-grandma, rest her soul? In her lifetime, she earned a Ph.D.

All this to say, my attempts to make things from scratch most of the time actually make me a little bit of a rebel girl amongst my kin. (Note: in past years I may have tried to smoke the pecans. Not toast them, but inhale them. So I’m not the rebel I used to be.) Perhaps it’s my destiny to open a Bed and Breakfast and grow my own herbs (the not-for-smoking kind) in the back and combine the savvy of past generations with the down-home environmental earthiness of today. That, or if my pie fails, head back to graduate school.

For the record, I did buy a pre-made crust. Don’t tell anyone at my potluck.

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