Sunday, December 6, 2009

Easy As Pie?

Two months ago, T and I threw a birthday party for a new friend.  I made an elaborate chocolate berry layer cake that received rave reviews from the guests, many of whom thought we had purchased it from a local bakery.  I was so proud. 

At the party, one of T’s good friends told me that, as a kid, he never liked cake and always requested apple pie on his birthday.  Knowing he had a milestone birthday approaching, I planned to attempt an apple pie.  After much online research and countless recipe reviews that warned of the difficulties of getting pie crust just right, I was scared off, but I still wanted to give our friend a pie, so I did something I am somewhat embarrassed to admit: I bought frozen crust.   
Oh, the shame!  

Coming from a family that honors homemade goodness above store bought foods, buying something mediocre and pre-made was a difficult thing to do.  

T helped with the peeling and slicing of the apples (he loves to be my sous-chef).  I used the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and was a bit disappointed by the lack of cohesion of the filling when the pie was cut.  Perhaps I should have added more flour or some cornstarch since the apples were particularly juicy. It was kind of a mess.  The other problem that pained me was that it was an especially ugly, lumpy excuse for a pie.  

Nevertheless, served with a scoop ice cream, everyone with their champagne-dulled taste buds ate it up.  Most importantly though, the birthday boy was very touched by the effort.  And he had seconds.

In conversation last night, I learned that in the mid-1800’s, during the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln received a telegram from the Thai king, Mongkut, offering to deliver working elephants to the U.S.  Lincoln politely declined.  The question that arose over the apple pie was "why?".  As bizarre an offer as it was, wouldn’t acceptance have be a diplomatic gesture?

T and me elephant riding in Chiang Rai, July 2009

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