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December 29, 2010

Stick To What I Do Well


Some life lessons have taught me to stick with what I am good at and what I know.

My first Thanksgiving dinner as a married woman, I was 18 years old and had never really cooked much. Living in various foster homes and then on my own for a year in a little apartment, I opened cans of soup but no cooking from scratch.

The turkey turned out pretty good but the guests were there with advice and there were plenty of hands to help make mashed potatoes and gravy. After dinner I proudly served up pieces of pie I had made the day before. I had made pies in high school home economics class (is there even still such a thing now?) but I had never made pumpkin pies. In my nervousness and excitement I neglected to add spices to the pumpkin mixture. I didn't taste the pies myself until later after the guests were gone. Not one of them mentioned how horrible the pumpkin pie was and they ate most of their servings. I don't know how they did it. Pies are just not my thing. I can make a good brownie and some pretty good cookies. I can stand aside and allow others to bask in the limelight with their pies.

44 comments:

Anne H said...

I don't know - Home Ec?
I remember it well.
I wanted to take shop.
But nooooo!!!!
And pie?
I agree - some things are best left for the experts!

Merry said...

Heck, some people like their pie without spices!

And I think cooking the turkey right the first time is a major accomplishment :)

Attila The Mom said...

I'm with you on the pies! I couldn't make a decent crust (even a pre-made one) to save my life! LOL

Brian Miller said...

hehe i am reminded of the story my mom tells of the first cake she ever made my dad...it fell apart and she used toothpicks to holdit together while icing...then she forgot to remove them...lol

Gary's third pottery blog said...

I am glad the guests were too polite to mention it :) Happy new year Cici!!!!!

DJan said...

I used to make a mean pie in my younger days, using Crisco for the pie crust (yikes!) but these days I don't make or eat them, since they don't agree with me. And my husband would make me eat the whole thing, since he doesn't eat sugar...

Jeanie said...

We would make a good team...I'm not so good at the turkey, but I can make a decent pie.
I wonder also if anything like Home-ec is taught in school these days.

deb said...

ah... I don't like pie anyway.

and they offered home ec or shop in gr school 7 and 8 where I went,
I already knew how to do all the domestic chores so I took shop!!

savannah said...

here's my take on the whole pie baking, pastries, etc: i support the local economy and BUY all the baked goods from a local baker! or in a pinch, the bakery department at the grocery store! :~D xoxoxo

cheers and happy new year, sugarpie1

Lori said...

It's a wise person that knows to stick with what they do well and unless it's a lifes desire to make good pies, to be okay with ones self for not making pie.

Another thing you do real well is share honestly and from your heart which is a gift to every single on of us that gets to meet you.

Hope you had a good Christmas. XX

Ina in Alaska said...

I think the last time I made a pie from scratch (apple) was easily 10 years ago. It was a Martha Stewart recipe and it was piled high with apples, everything came out just perfect (It's a good thing, as Martha would say) but I have never made one since. I even took pictures of it because I could not believe that I actually made that pie. xoxo PS LOVED Home Ec class. Our teacher was so grandmotherly (Mrs Plumb, 7th Grade RIP)

ellen abbott said...

I don't even try to compete with Mrs. Smith.

Deidra said...

Home Ec is where I learned to make a sink shine and measure a cup of flour. And that's about it. The rest I learned through good old trial and error. Lots of errors and many trials.

Kristina P. said...

Now those are some good people!

Cinner said...

I am the same as Anne. I wanted shop too. We all make mistakes. First time I cooked a chicken away from home, I rinsed it out...never occurred to me they would put a little plastic bag in with lord knows what in there. so it got cooked in the plastic. my Mom just brought this story up at Christmas. I am wishing you and James a very Merry and Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true. hugs.

lisleman said...

Those were nice guests.
I never made a pie but I sure can eat them. We have pies instead of cake for birthdays here.

Oh stop over - I gave you a shout out yesterday.

Kazzy said...

I agree. I do somethings well in the kitchen, but I am NOT a baker.

LL Cool Joe said...

I've always felt sad that my kids have never had proper home cooked food apart from when they go to my parents house. Neither of us can cook.

Cricket said...

Funny. I agree with a previous commenter that getting the turkey right was big.

I can stand aside and allow others to bask in the limelight with their pies.

Yes, you could do that. Or you could live and learn and remember the spices next time... that would work, too. ;-)

My Nana firmly believed that desserts were something you buy. On the whole, I go with that, though I love to cook, myself. Still, I bet with your unspiced pumpkin pie, as long as you didn't leave the sugar out, it was more edible that you give it credit for.

And lots of folks are grateful not to have to cook themselves, regardless. There's always that.

My Dad once made a chocolate cake... found he had no sugar, and used Twin. Oy. Now that was truly vile. Chocolate cake with a saccharine aftertaste. Bleah.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Opaque said...

A nice lesson here. I had my first proper Christmas dinner at a mate's place, and it was awesome!

Happy New year!!!

~ Tabitha ~ said...

Happy New Year Techno Babe xo

Robert the Skeptic said...

Pie making is an art form. That's why they award prizes for them at the county fair.

KleinsteMotte said...

Turkey is a big job. Adding pie is really brave. Happy New Year.

Fireblossom said...

Don't they call it life science now? Or something. But i think they still have it.

Eileen said...

I tried to leave a comment here last night but I just got booted off! I'm going to give it another try.

I'm with you, cookies, brownies, I'm okay with that, my cakes lately haven't been great, but my pie attempts have been complete failures!

I took Home Economics! LOVED IT!! But I didn't learn how to bake a good pie there.

I don't know why they don't teach things like Home Ec, and sewing, and shop, ALL THINGS THAT ARE NEEDED!
I loved when I was in high school and you had so many choices, there were three different types of diplomas when I graduated ~ Academic, General, and Business (I got a Business diploma), now they try to make everyone fit into one mold. So sad.

All the best,
Eileen

Fragrant Liar said...

How sweet of your guests to not let on! Me, I like pies that don't have too much sugar and spice, so I would have loved it.

xo

Jeni said...

Oh Honey! At that tender age, trying to fix a big meal and bake -you're bound to make mistakes! Shucks, about 4-5 years ago on Thanksgiving, in my frenzy of baking and cooking, I made 2 pumpkin pies and totally forgot to put sugar in the pumpkin mixture! Talk about bad!!! They were horrendous! (Not even good for dieters, ya know!) And I'd been cooking -and baking (lots and lots too) for a lot of years when I was scatterbrained enough to leave out the sugar! Happens to all of us a time or two, at least!
Have a Happy New Year now and maybe I'll be catching up with you next year, Kiddo!

Dave King said...

'Tis wisdom indeed, to stick to what you know you are good at!

Syd said...

You did really well actually. I took a lot of chemistry and cooking is a lot like that at first. Follow directions of mixing ingredients together. Later, with confidence, I began to ad lib my cooking more and more. That is more like experimenting which I like.

Scarlet Blue said...

Who needs pies when there are cookies?
Sx

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

Do they bask in the limelight with their key lime pies?

Sorry, I know it's bad. I think I'm tired with all the holiday merriment.

gayle said...

I took Home Ec for two or three years. We were never taught to make a pie. I wish I knew how to make pie crusts. My your family really did like the pie!

Big Dave T said...

I'm not a baker so I shouldn't comment but my wife bakes a good shoo-fly pie, drawing on her Pennsylvania Dutch roots. She told me though that she got kicked out of her home ec class for being rowdy. I wonder too if they still offer home ec. It's probably called something else now.

Shadow said...

nice to look back and see how far we come...

TALON said...

Like you, I leave the pastry making to those who have the skill and bless the heavens above that some not-too-bad frozen pies work well.

Hope you had a beautiful Christmas, TechnoBabe. Wishing you and your family a fantastic new year!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I never had any interest in cooking or sewing as a kid, but learned to cook when I got married. Pies, too. I hated Home Ec and would have preferred Shop, but girls couldn't take it.

Marla said...

I remember those first days of cooking. Yeah, I will stick with cooking and leave the baking to someone else too.

Stickup Artist said...

You have to admire a teenage girl, on her own, who with no cooking experience took on the job of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner from scratch for guests!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Stinkypaw said...

Never had Home Economics classes - I must be from "that" generation... Maybe your guests liked pumpkin?! I'm realizing baking isn't for everyone, and like you said, we should stick to what we do well! ;-)

Happy New Year to you and yours, m'dear!

CherylK said...

I love your pie story. It reminds me of one my mother told me about her first pumpkin pie. She opened the can of pumpkin, spooned it into the crust and baked it. Didn't add ANYTHING! Poor thing!

Our daughter brought a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and she bought it from a bakery. It was absolutely delicious!

Unknown Mami said...

Aww, those were some nice guests.

Happy New Year!

Casey Freeland said...

Store pumpkin pies are cheap and delish. :)

Hilary said...

I'll bet that the pie wasn't too bad. I'm not much for baking but I do love to cook.

Hope said...

Once I forgot to add sugar to my pumpkin pie - the guests were politely eating it when I took a bite and realized what I'd done.

When I was a 19 year old newlywed my MIL made the gravy for my first turkey dinner and whispered to me in the kitchen that it would be our secret that she made the gravy. What a wonderful woman.