Six Random Things About Myself: Introduction and Part One

May 21, 2008 at 9:38 am 3 comments

A short while ago, Jen tagged me with another blog tag game thing. I’m going to be a bit of a Scrooge again and not tag anyone else, but I will play the game because it’s good creative writing exercise. Although I’ll do it in installments. What’s the game? To write six random things about myself. It is from this that I cleverly derived the title of this post. According la belle Jennifer’s post on the matter,

Here’s what you do: Post the rules, write the post and don’t forget to tag six more people in your post, publish the post, and let those you’ve tagged know you’ve tagged them. And no. You won’t win the lottery, lose 10 pounds or stumble upon the secret to a great pie if you participate.

Oh, but LITTLE DID SHE KNOW that, in tagging me, SHE would stumble upon the secret to a great pie — which brings me to numero uno:

It’s all in the crust. I secretly (until now) pride myself on my natural ability to make good pie pastry. If I wasn’t a little superstitious, I’d say that it almost always comes out perfect — tender, flaky, and just sweet or salty or zesty enough to complement whatever’s inside. It always bakes up golden brown and tempting, without the need for silly tricks like an egg wash, which my husband is allergic to anyway. Just *LOOK* at this Brown Sugar Peach Pie I baked last night:

TELL me you don’t want some of that?! And I’ll tell you it’s probably some of the best damn pie pastry you’ve ever had. That’s right. I am THAT confident.

Others have come seeking my pie-making wisdom, asking me to teach them how to make good pie pastry. And I’ve honestly tried to teach them, because I’m all for sharing when it comes to making good food. I’ve shared my favorite recipes, I’ve taught the cutting-in techniques, use cold butter, use ice water, humidity changes the amount of water you’ll need, DON’T OVERWORK THE DOUGH — that makes it tough. In fact, don’t think of working it at all, just let it start to come together and then gently help it along. Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least a half-hour. And you only have one shot to roll it out (because re-rolling is overworking and thus makes it tough).

Still, I don’t think anyone has quite caught on. It’s really as if my fingers just know what to do, they’ve always known, they will always know without really letting my concious, analytical brain in on the process. It’s meditative, almost spiritual, requiring a small leap of faith, believing that this will turn out right.

And here’s the thing: I can’t always roll out the pastry without it cracking, I can’t always peel it up without it sticking and tearing — the making doesn’t always go perfectly. Yet anyone who wasn’t there when I made it wouldn’t know. Because I’m always ready with my little cookie cutters, or lattice-weaving and fluting techniques — and even the perfect crumb topping recipe if it goes *really* wrong: a veritable repository of backup pie finishing techniques (the bottom doesn’t matter as much). I can take a pie that’s not going exactly the way I’d planned and turn it into something that looks as beautiful as anything in Martha Stewart Living and tastes as spectacular. So I guess my secret, THE secret, the honest-to-God pastry-making, cooking and baking secret to LIFE ITSELF is this:

Don’t panic.


Entry filed under: Food, Head & Heart. Tags: , .

Starting over I Spy

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. onewandering  |  May 21, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Well, now I know something else about MYSELF… one of my secret talents must by knowing WHO to call when I mistakenly think that my kitchen/hands/disposition can handle trying out a new recipe for upside-down berry crostada that I got off of the dang internet one day and figured I’d just whip out for dessert on an evening where I barely had time to shop for the ingredients. (I am so smart!) ;) Ah yes, you see… for I may not have the most kitchen-confidence, all of the right specialized tools, or the ability to not panic in the face of pastry-adversity… but I DO know who to call!

    ps – thanks for playing along… I don’t think I’ll be doing any more tagging for future games, but I would always hope that if they’re fun you’ll see my posts and play anyway! :) *HUG*

    pss – where’s my taste of that delicious-looking pie? You pastry tease!

  • 2. Fall in the kitchen: part two of three « Little Joys  |  October 7, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    […] is my second favorite thing to make, behind pie. But it’s my favorite thing to eat. Especially warm with butter. Hot chocolate doesn’t […]

  • 3. Fall in the kitchen: part three of three « Little Joys  |  October 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    […] I have to stop writing about cooking now, because it’s been making me insatiably hungry for the last three days. Only there’s a box of 20 fresh, delicious, juicy, sweet Mutsu apples on my kitchen counter — some of which only want to be eaten as they are, but the others, oh the others, are just begging, DYING to become something more. Something like…pie. […]


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