Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Sweet (Make That Not-So-Sweet) Thanksgiving Story

My husband's all-time favorite dessert is pumpkin pie (especially if it's topped with a mountain of whipped cream--and if you think I'm exaggerating about the mountain part, trust me, I am not).  His paternal grandmother made the best pumpkin pies in the world, and she even baked them for him on his birthday because she knew how much he loved them.  That boy was convinced that no one could make pumpkin pie like Nan.  His mom--who was not that interested in baking anyway--never really tried her hand at it, knowing that her mother-in-law had the desserts thing covered.  But then after Nan died, my husband had to be content with Mrs. Smith's--which for a frozen pie is pretty darn good...but still, not Nan's.

As a starry-eyed newlywed, I was determined to feed my new husband like a king.  So I set out to make his favorite dessert well enough that if it didn't remind him of his grandmother's, at least he would prefer it to the store-bought varieties.  One of my happiest memories of those early days of our marriage is when he told me, after my very first try, that I was the only person who'd ever made a pumpkin pie that reminded him of Nan's.  Woo hoo!  Nailed it!  I was a pumpkin pie aficionado, a pumpkin pie whisperer; I had been put on the same level as Nan, the Pumpkin Pie Boss herself.  And it had been done completely out of love, because I don't even like pumpkin pie myself.  I would eat almost any other dessert (besides carrot cake or anything that has pineapple in it--yuck and double yuck) before I'd eat it.  This is one of the few things my husband and I haven't been able to see eye-to-eye on; but after 33 years of marriage we have found a way to deal with it: I make the pumpkin pie, he eats it.  And everybody's happy.

Just when I was getting cocky about my vaunted pie-making skills, however, I hit a snag one year.  My husband cut his usual 1/4 pie-sized slice and buried it in whipped cream, and after the first bite he said, "Something's different.  This doesn't taste like your usual."  It turned out I'd forgotten a very important ingredient, the ingredient that makes pumpkin pie a dessert rather than a vegetable side dish: THE SUGAR! 

Needless to say, that was the least Nan-like pumpkin pie I ever made.  I felt so terrible, like I'd ruined Thanksgiving.  But my husband, being the hero and the trooper that he is, said, "No, it'll be fine.  I'll just sprinkle sugar on the top of each piece."  And you've got to hand it to him, he gave that a try.  But you know what this experience taught us?  Sugar baked in a pie gives it a whole different flavor than sugar poured on an unsweetened pie.  Lesson learned.  The day after that fiasco (the big black mark on my pie-making reputation), I ran out to get the ingredients to make a replacement.  And I never made that mistake again, I can tell you that.

Well, the first pumpkin pie has already been made in preparation for tomorrow's feast, while the second one is in the oven as I write this.  And I know they both have sugar in them (so, SWEET!--as the kids say).  For the next few days, my husband will be in hog heaven (as in: pie for breakfast, pie for lunch dessert, pie for dinner dessert!).  He doesn't even have to share, because my boys are more like their mama: cake/cookies/brownies/chocolate candy bars/ice cream before pie, ALWAYS.  So that means those pies are all for him--and he's my main reason for being thankful, on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year, so nothing could make me happier.

Ain't she a beauty?  My husband is on a trip and gets home tomorrow, so I texted him a picture of the first pie when it came out of the oven, and I thought I'd share this cute comment he sent back.
Yes on the sugar, no on the cracks: I think we have a winner!
 
Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!  I'll see you in a few days.   (Don't forget  the giveaway!)

12 comments:

  1. That is a perfect looking pie!! You are awesome!

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    1. No, the recipe on the back of the Libbey's can is awesome. (But let's pretend I hollowed out our Halloween pumpkin and all of that...)

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  2. I'm about to start our pumpkin and pecan pies right now! What a sweet comment from Mr. Pearl :) Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Steve, too--and I'll see you SOON! :)

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  3. I'm with you on the pumpkin pie and carrot cake but I do love pineapple things. But we aren't even having any pie this year because we just aren't pie people I guess. (I will refrain from telling you we are going to have pineapple upside down cake instead.) I would have to make lemon meringue pie to be in the same "love scale" you have with your husband. Maybe I'll try some day. So happy you can make pies for your hubby to feel that comfort of home. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Madeline,

      In my defense, I think I might actually be allergic to pineapple. I used to try to eat it (when I was a kid, because my mom would give us a cookie for dessert if we ate our fruit first), but I would gag on it. My husband thinks pineapple is delicious (and that's another difference between us!).

      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  4. Now I'm getting REALLY excited for tomorrow! We're waiting until Christmas to cook a turkey, since my brother won't be home until then, but pumpkin pie will happen if I have anything to say about it!

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Iris! My husband and I are only going to have two of our five boys with us tomorrow...but I bought a 19-lb. turkey. Old habits die hard, I guess. :)

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  5. Awww, love the pie story, love that you and your husband text eachother, how cute is that? Happy Thanksgiving!!

    I am not a pie person either...but the rest are, so we have 3 pies and a pumpkin cheesecake (only the cheesecake is homemade)

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    1. Pumpkin cheesecake--now that's something I might like! I've seen several recipes for that and almost tried it a few times. Maybe one of these days I'll give it a shot.

      We usually use lots of emoticons in our texts. We were slacking a bit with these. :)

      Happy Thanksgiving!

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  6. I think a pumpking pie without sugar sounds like it could be pretty good....it would just be a vegetable, instead of a dessert. And, I bet if you drizzled it with honey it would be especially good. LOL

    Anyway, your pie looks awesome. I love pie. I love cakes and cookies and chocolate bars as well. I love pineapple, I love carrot cake. I'm pretty much up for any dessert (except for tapioica pudidng, jello and bread pudding...I hate thise.)

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    1. In general, dessert is the BEST. I think that's what you're trying to say...and I agree! Happy Thanksgiving, Amelia!

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