The thing about pie…

is that there is no way of knowing if it’s good before you give it to someone to eat.

Cookies, you can. You simply eat one. Brownies, yes. Cut them up and serve them in pieces on a platter… but eat one, first. Cake is even possible… there are always crumbs that you can use as taste-testing material.

But pie? No. Pie, you simply have to say a prayer over, and then hold your breath as the first victim recipient takes the initial bite. If their eyes light up and they instantly reach for the next piece, you’re fine. If, however, their eyes narrow, start watering, or they immediately begin to choke, there is a problem.

I’ve undertaken pie making again. A recent viewing of Julie & Julia and a horrible addiction to Pushing Daisies has made it happen. When my RA (who is also my roommate) sent an email out saying that Thanksgiving dinner with our brother hall was to be had, I immediately claimed the pie-making responsibility. I just love pie.

My mom always said that her mom always said that you could not get married until you could roll a perfectly round pie crust. If that is truly the case, and you are put to a test before you can walk down the aisle (maybe at the same time they draw blood?), then all I can say is, oh dear. I’ll simply make my new life goal to be a happy old maid in a cute little cottage, singing with the birds and making lumpy-crusted pies all day for children in need.

I prefer to think of my pie crusts as maps. Topographical maps. There are valleys and hills and rivers and gulleys, and if you look closely, you can even see snow on the peak of Mt. Dough (although that could also be the flour that I spill EVERYWHERE, everytime).

Every time I cook, something odd happens. This time, I followed the recipe for pumpkin pie perfectly… I measured steadfastly, poured tediously, and gauged the size of my “dash of salt” quite scrupulously. However, when I poured the mixture into the 9″ pie plate (which is exactly what the recipe called for), I had about 3″ worth of pumpkin goo left in my bowl. I poured a bit more. And then a bit more. And then, when the sounds of Pumpkin Falls spilling over the edge of my topographical map made me realize that I was creating a stream down the cabinet, I stopped.

“Oh, you can make cup-pies!” cried Kelsey, who walked into the room just in time to see the pumpkin pooling on her countertop.

It was a brilliant idea. Elisa enthusiastically pulled the muffin tins out of their cabinet (which is logical, because Elisa does everything enthusiastically). I made a bit more pie crust, and set about forming six mini-dough-maps (which could be sold at little tourist attractions) and carefully pouring the remainder of the pumpkin soup into their little crusts. A dash of cinnamon on top of each one, and they were ready to go in the oven.

It is at this point that I remember that I am spoiled. I was raised baking, and I was raised with two ovens; one could be set at 400 degrees to bake your pecan pie, and the other, amazingly, could be set at 350 degrees to bake your pumpkin pie. Not so, here. There is one oven, and it is barely small enough to cook a large turkey (which I would love to attempt, by the way). And so, the pies lined up on the counter, patiently waiting their turn to be baked into oblivion. It is their fate, after all, to be turned into wonderful food for the men who I call my brothers, and in the meantime, to provide a delicious perfume for those of us in this apartment.


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