Monday, December 10, 2012

Can You Bake a Pie?

My 3-year-old son loves to help (or, more accurately, "help") in the kitchen, so it's nothing unusual for him to ask me if we can make cornbread, or pancakes, or lemonade. We make those things together on a regular basis. But today he made a different request: he asked me to make pumpkin pie with him.

We did have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and he did like it. A lot. I haven't mentioned it since, though, so I have no idea what made him suddenly decide that he was hungry for pumpkin pie. (Actually, the word he used was "starving." Yes, he informed me, "Mama, I am STARVING! I am STARVING for pumpkin pie!") But in the realm of snacks and treats, he could do much worse than pumpkin pie, so I said sure.

And after I thought about it, I realized that pumpkin pie is one of the first things I remember making with MY mom. My special task in the process was cutting the shortening into the flour for the pie crust. I remember it being a somewhat challenging task for me, as coordinating two large butter knives with my small hands was not easy. But Mom was patient and let me take as long as I liked to get it done. (I didn't realize at the time that the longer I took to do that task, the longer I was out of her hair for the more complicated - and messy - parts of the process. Smart cookie, my mom.)

I also remember being allowed to make the scraps of pie crust into a cinnamon roll. I was proudest of that because Mom let me do it all by myself. I squished the scraps together and rolled them out, dotted the crust with butter, sprinkled it liberally with cinnamon and sugar, rolled it up and pinched the ends together, then laid it on a cookie sheet and tucked it into the oven alongside the pie. I probably peeked through the window in the oven door every 15 seconds until Mom finally pronounced it done and set it on the table to cool. And then it seemed like hours before she said it was cool enough to eat. But when it finally was cooled, there was nothing that had ever tasted to wonderful to me than my own culinary creation.

So I'm looking forward to giving my son that same sense of pride this afternoon when we make our pie. It may not taste perfect, but it will taste even better than perfection. It will taste like independence.

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