Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Eve and culinary mishaps

Happy Thanksgiving Eve.  Or Thanksgivukkah Eve.  Or, you know, Happy Wednesday.  Happy November 27th.  Whatever works for you this evening.

It's been a long ass day.  So long, in fact, that the curse words have been flowing freely all night simply because...well just because.  It's been a long day.  At 2PM I was ready for the day to be over, but I wasn't done at work until 6.  Ten after six, actually, because the family I was working with wanted to show me pictures of the Christmas lights on their house.  This was great, and it was a sweet little house, and normally I would be very patient and enjoy such an interaction because it's indicative of what wonderful rapport with them and how much they consider me part of their life that they want me to partake in the joy of Dad's handiwork with the Christmas lights.  Tonight?  I kind of wanted to throw my hands in the air and say "for the love of all that is holy, I don't care about your freaking Christmas lights!"

I didn't.  I wanted to.  But I didn't.

Anyway, after I finally got home and got dinner, I cleaned up the house and then drove out to my parents house, which is where I am now.  It's been a long ass day.

So, briefly, I will share the family story about Autodidact at Thanksgiving that is told every year and will live down in infamy forever and ever.

I was 11.  A newly turned 11, mind you, and we had 19 people coming to our house for Thanksgiving.  My job in all of this was to make the pumpkin pie.  I was a pretty sharp little 11 year old, and I knew my way
around a kitchen pretty well.  There was nothing too special about this pumpkin pie...just the simple recipe from Joy of Cooking.  I was going along, doing really well, super independent and feeling important amidst my parents and grandmother in the kitchen.  I was going to make the best pumpkin pie ever.  Everyone would be so impressed, right?  I felt I was pretty much something special.  Isn't if funny how important those things become to us, especially when we're young?

Well, in feeling like Something Special, I failed to realize that the recipe spread onto a second page.  I saw the directions on page two, but failed to see that the last ingredients on the ingredient list were on that second page.  I mixed and measured and poured it all into the pie crust, and I popped that beautiful pie in the oven.  "I'm done!" I told my mother.  Several minutes later, she came to check: Did you put in the pumpkin?  The evaporated milk?  The sugar?  We went down the list -- yep, yep, yep.

"Did you put in the eggs?" she asked.

"Eggs?" I questioned.  "There aren't any eggs in the pumpkin pie."

"Yes, there are," she said, panic rising in her voice.  "Did you put in the eggs?"

I looked at page two of the recipe.  There, at the top of the page, were the two eggs.  The two eggs I had NOT put in the pumpkin pie that was now in the oven.

Of course, just then, the door bell rang with the first load of relatives.

"Get out the eggs!" my mother said sharply.  I retrieved them from the fridge.  My mom pulled the pie out of the oven just as the relatives came in the door.

"What are you doing?" they asked.

"We're a little breathless," she said.  "Autodidact forgot the eggs in the pumpkin pie.  So I'm fixing it."  She dumped the filling out of the pie and back into the bowl, whisked in the eggs, dumped it back into the crust, and put it back in the oven.

I was humiliated.  No one was going to be impressed.  No one would think it was the best pumpkin pie ever.  It wasn't even mine anymore, I felt.  I left out the eggs.  It was the talk of the entire day -- how clever my mother was for thinking of dumping out the filling and putting in the eggs; how lucky we were my mother caught it; how I would do better next year.

The year after that, I was again given the task of making the pumpkin pie.  "Remember last year?" everybody asked.  "Did you remember the eggs?" everyone repeated.  I did remember the eggs.  However, that year I reached for the glass jar of brown sugar on the top shelf and dropped it, into the glass bowl underneath, and somehow managed to shatter them both.

I am-- somehow -- still the one who typically makes the pumpkin pie...and everyone still asks about the eggs.  Interestingly, I don't even like pumpkin pie.  Something about the consistency.  Maybe it would be better if I left out the eggs?

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