Saturday, November 20, 2010


I've posted this before so it may be on its way to becoming my annual Thanksgiving piece (until new grandbaby Ada is old enough to bake). Fia was three when this was written. She's now ten. Time has a way of slipping past us when we're not looking, doesn't it?

Beware What the Cook Won't Eat

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m making a pie. “Can I help?” asks my granddaughter Fia. At three, she’s interested in being part of any cooking going on.

“Sure,” I say and we push up our sleeves, haul out flour and sugar and spices, find the rolling pin and two pie plates (one for each of us) and get to work.

She clambers onto a kitchen stool and leans her elbows on the table. “One, two, shtree,” she counts as we measure half-cups of flour and shortening into a bowl. I cut in the shortening, add the water, and mix the dough into a lump. I pull off a small piece and hand it to her. She presses it between her small hands. “We’re making pies, right Memere?” she beams. “I love pies.”

She nibbles a bit of the dough and makes a face, then watches as I sprinkle flour on the table. “Uh oh,” she says. “Memere, you’re supposed to put it in the bowl.”

I explain that I need it on the table so that when I roll out the crust it won’t stick. “Oh,” she says and helps me by spreading the flour all the way to the edges of the table and onto the floor.

I let her use the rolling pin first. Her small ball of dough rolls right around the pin. She picks it off, balls it up, and starts again. While she is busy, I measure pumpkin, milk, and spices into another bowl.

“Let me do it,” she begs when I take up an egg to crack. She whacks the egg on the edge of the bowl and drops the whole thing in. “Ick,” she says. I pick out the shells. When I hold the second egg out to her she shakes her head.

She scrapes her pie crust off the table and plops it in her dish, then kneels on the stool and puts her whole weight on her hands as she presses it flat. “How’s this?” She holds the plate up for inspection. The dough falls on the floor. She scrambles down, picks it up and blows on it. Flour dust puffs into the air. “It’s okay,” she assures me. “It was on the floor for not even one minute.”

I roll my own crust and fit it in the plate, crimping the edges carefully. Fia watches, then tries to crimp her own crust. When she is through, there is just room in the center for a dab of pumpkin mixture. I pour the remaining pumpkin filling into my pie shell and slide the pies into the oven. Fia helps me set the timer.

The kitchen looks like the aftermath of a fight in a flour mill. There is white dust on every surface, bits of sticky dough on the table, the floor, and Fia's chin, and spatters of pumpkin on the table and the stove. We fetch the broom and the dustpan. I sweep while Fia wipes off the table. I sweep again. When the last dish is dried and put away and the floor is clean enough to eat from, we turn on the oven light and check the pies.

“They look delicious,” I say to Fia. “We can eat yours tonight and save mine for Thanksgiving dinner, okay?”

Fia looks at her pie. She looks at me. “You can have mine, Memere,” she says. “I just only like making pies. I don’t like to eat any.”

Fia at 3 and her Memere (at a dance recital - hence the hair bow)


Brian Miller said...

smiles. too cute...hope that you have a wonderful thanksgiving...

Ruth said...

OMG. Thank you for teaching me how to make pies with my someday grandchildren. Thank you for every step.

Tabor said...

I have cooked with my grandchildren and certainly must learn patience.

Judith said...

What a delightful grandchild.
What an amazing grandmother! Wish I'd had one like you ---
Wish I'd BEEN one like you!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Gary said...

What a fantastic story. I loved the subtle "I sweep again". Making messes, spending time together, sharing all of this seems to me to be the best that life has to offer. Happy Thanksgiving! (I LOVE that picture of the two of you.)

Hilary said...

What a sweet tale of a beautiful memory. Love the photo.. I love the Love.

Meggie said...

A sweet post, and beautiful photo!

Pauline said...

Brian M - I never imagined such a close relationship with a grandchild and it's delightful!

Ruth - she and I still do lots of things together but now it is she teaching me!

Tabor - I have had to learn patience but it pays off ;)

Judith - you must be a wonderful grandma!

Gary - the cleanup did take longer than the baking but it was all part of the fun

Hilary - yes, the love is the best part :)

Thanks Meggie - we were both much younger then ;)

deb said...

so heartwarming.

and that photo is priceless.

Pauline said...

Thanks, Deb - this little girl and I have an affair of the heart going on :)

Marion said...

Oh,'s tough typing with tears running down my face, heh! This could have been about my granddaughter and I, right down to the fact that she only liked making them...she didn't like eating them! But she sure loved making a complete disaster of the kitchen.

That photo is absolutely and beauty shines from the both of you.

I loved this needs to be a classic!