Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I've posted this before so it may be on its way to becoming my annual Thanksgiving piece (until one year old grandbaby Ada is old enough to bake). Fia was three when this was written. She's now eleven. 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 pieces of shell. 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)

Thanks, Hilary!


Tabor said...

Glad you repeated this and I wish I had you as my memme or nanny or mommom.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...i remember this one...lovely how you do it together...to me that is what thanksgiving is all about...

Judith said...

Absolutely a classic.
Beats Virginia and her Santa Claus all hollow!
Such a wonderful story, and memory, and Memere. Happy Thanksgiving!

Hilary said...

Memories to last a lifetime. What a sweetie. Thanks for reposting this gem.

herhimnbryn said...

She will remmeber the 'making of pies' all her life.

Now you have got me interested in Pumpkin pie. Have never tried it. Have eaten pumpkin, roasted and baked, but never sweet. I shall investigate.

Pauline said...

HHB - I have a wonderful recipe from my own Memere that I use every Thanksgiving (and often during the winter). I will send it to you if you like.

Hilary - we still love to do things together

Aw, thanks J!

Brian M - you gave me a fine compliment the last time I posted this, too - thanks :)

Tabor - I will happily fill the bill, though we are probably closer in age than most grandparents/grandkids ;)

Barbara said...

I love this even more every time I read it. Is Fia still in the pie-baking business or does she just like to eat pie these days? :)

Pauline said...

Barbara - Fia still does not like to eat pie. Her tastes run more to savory than sweet. She is still a joy, though!

TexWisGirl said...

warms my heart! love it! congrats on your POTW!

Sandi McBride said...

Happy POTW, and I think this would make a perfectly wonderful annual Thanksgiving piece!

Anonymous said...

I felt like I was in the kitchen with you not minding the mess one bit. Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog ~ you have such a beautiful way with words ♥

the Bag Lady said...

This was a lovely story - made me smile!
Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting today!

Grayquill said...

Congrats on the POW..What a fun post. I loved it! It reminded me of my oldest daughter, she always had something to say and it so often surprised me.

Ruth said...

I remember this with great fondness, thank you for posting it again. It is now a classic!

I'll keep this in mind when my little Poppy Seed grandson helps me in the kitchen.

Reya Mellicker said...

Beautiful post.

I liked the last one, too. A shift from red to green is metaphorical in so many ways. From stop to go, for instance. It also marks a shift from root chakra to heart chakra.

What a great year you have ahead! You go, girl!

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a great story and wonderful memory. I'm glad you wrote it down so Miss Fia will have it forever... to perhaps share with her children and grandchildren.