Our church put out an S.O.S. last week, asking members to please bake more pies for our fair stand. It seems the ones on hand were going like hot cakes – or hot pies – or hot somethings.
Everyone who had a piece of pie at our church stand can be extremely grateful that I ignored the plea. You were probably spared a broken tooth and extensive dental work by not partaking of a pie that I would have made.
Not that I’ve never made a pie. I did, once. In 1965. We had just moved back to Algona (well, back for me, just moved for non-native Bing). I had a call from a member of one of the church circles asking if I would bake a pie for a funeral dinner. “Of course, I’d be happy to,” sez I, ever the people-pleaser.
“You’ve never baked a pie,” Bing said doubtfully when I told him what I was going to do. “Well, how hard can it be – I know lots of people who bake pies and they never complain that it’s difficult,” I answered loftily.
Besides, I knew where my mother kept her recipe for pie crust – it was taped inside one of her kitchen cupboards. She was off visiting my sister in Vermont at the time, but I was sure I could follow her recipe without her help.
Not so much.
I was okay until it came to rolling the dough into a circle. It didn’t go into a circle, it went into the shape of South America. I wadded it up and tried again. This time it looked kind of like Florida, only longer. The next time it came out in a bunch of little islands. Finally, FINALLY, I got it to go into a shape vaguely resembling a circle by pounding, pushing and pulling it. By this time I hated that mound of dough with a passion.
However, I soldiered on, dumping it into a pie plate borrowed from the same kitchen the recipe came from. Getting it to fit in the pie plate required more pushing, pinching and using language the church ladies probably wouldn’t approve of.
I put a can of cherry filling in the sad-looking crust and baked it. But not before I put some strips of the left-over South America – Florida – little islands dough on top in a haphazard arrangement which I hoped would pass for artistic.
After I took the pie up to the dinner, I called my mother in Vermont to tell her what I had accomplished. When I said I had to roll the dough out quite a few times, she sort of gasped and said they would have to cut it with a hacksaw. I didn’t think that was a very motherly thing to say.
I never went back to claim the pie plate.
I didn’t want anyone to know who had made the cherry cement pie.