The Lost Art of Pie Making

Lost Art of Pie Making

Lost Art of Pie Making

Grandma, Mom, my sister and me

Grandma, Mom, my sister and me

My grandma had the most amazing ability to take water, flour and lard and with a few strokes of her wrist, her farm strong fingers could whip up a ball of soon to be flaky piecrust. How she could create something so heartwarming and soul soothing with just these three ingredients always amazed me. As a young girl I took this for granted, as we so often do. I guess I just figured she’d always be there, in her apron, working in her farm kitchen and somehow I never saw the urgency of spending more time with her there or of learning her art. Instead, I would breath deep the soothing aromas emanating from the kitchen while I scampered by trying to escape with my cousins to the fields, barn, trees, creek and adventures that lay beyond the kitchen to make mischief and fight imaginary battles defending the castle on the hill or the fort in the trees.

Don’t get me wrong, I would not trade my memories of running free on the farm, creating imaginary forts under the shade of the trees, swinging on the lone rope in the long abandoned barn or laying in the alfalfa field smelling the sweet smells of summer and watching the birds fly overhead for anything, but I do wish that I had taken advantage of those treasured kitchen moments with my grandma and mastered the time proven art of pie making.

Now that my grandma and her beloved farm are only dusty memories in my mind I am forced to use my sensory skills to conjure up the sights of grandma working back and forth on bare kitchen floor, the ancient boards worn smooth but uneven with the magic dance of cooking, the smells of the fresh baked pie cooling on the counter in the summer breeze, or the sounds of grandma washing dishes, opening and closing the oven door or adding wood to the cracking fire in the wood stove. I remember so well the sound of her striking a match across the steel in such a quiet yet confident way as if to tell the stove I am the queen of this kitchen and I will show you what we must do.

Instead of living with my secret memories or with regret of lost grandma kitchen time I traded years ago for time spent running free and wild on the 200 acres of sand hills ranch, I have decided to proactively solve this with a creative solution. I added learn to make a pie to my life long bucket list. I turned a regret into a goal and have decided to give it a new twist so that I may create new memories with my youngest daughter. We are going to learn together!

After our recent move to a new state, I am taking advantage of the fact that my social teenager hasn’t had a chance to pack her schedule with friend activities yet and I signed us up for a class at the local community center titled “Making decorative pie crusts” What the instructor didn’t know, or falsely assumed, was that I already new how to make the pie crust I just needed to know how to make them decorative. It was a little like putting the cart before the horse so to speak by attending, presumptuous at a minimum. Nevertheless, we proudly walked into class and with false confidence claimed our spot at the cooking counter marked with a single rolling pin.

First attempt at Rolling my pie crust

First attempt at Rolling my pie crust

Thankfully the instructor, in an effort to save class time, provided each of us with a fist size ball of professionally done pie crust and then proceeded to jump into the art of creating fancy looking pies with perfectly done fluting and intricately woven lattice or braded edging!

We floured, rolled and cut our piecrusts and I was delighted to see my daughter proving she was a natural! While my piecrusts were uneven or rolled too thin hers seemed rather artfully perfect in their innocence!

Grandma wasn’t there to teach us but I am pretty sure she was watching down on us that day. I might get an A for effort, or for being a dreamer, but I think my youngest made it clear the art of pie making skipped a generation, I am just glad the family name will be said with pride at future family gatherings and Thanksgivings!

Making Memories

Making Memories

My youngest and I have been practicing all fall and while we don’t have it mastered yet our taste buds are enjoying the challenge! Inevitably, we are still confounded with crusts that are either too dry or too moist to achieve that look of perfection, and when we did get close to the right texture we were frustrated to realize our crust was too small for the pie tin, but like Grandma taught us, we just keep a smile on our face and worked with what we had. As I reflect back over the years and the many lessons learned on the farm, I am comforted by the realization that the best lesson Grandma ever taught me was to recognize and be thankful for the blessings in my life and to appreciate what I had. So many of the younger generation seem to never be satisfied with what they have, always wanting instead what everyone else seems to have. Like a dear friend of my mothers recently put it “Your family never seemed to have a lot of presents under the tree but they had so much love that no one seemed to notice.” Hopefully, in my own little family I have somehow managed to share that lesson also! Our pie crusts might not be perfect and we might not have all the newest and greatest material things in life but hopefully we have so much love that no one seems to notice. At least that is my prayer for my children.

So my friend, what’s next on your list?

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