I prepared the first two pumpkin pies of the season last night. Made from real pumpkin, they at least look like something people will be fooled into dishing up.
Let me start by getting this out into the open: I use “regular” Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins. As in, after Halloween, I take my spookily carved pumpkin, chop it up, boil it, peel it, smash it, strain it and freeze it.
It sounds like a huge headache for something readily available from a can for $1.
Well, it is a headache, mostly because I have to listen to my friends and relatives protest that it’s a complete waste of time. But, as habits go, it’s how my dad does it, so it’s how I do it.
Technical, ground-breaking stuff, here.
Anyway, I enjoy making pies from scratch and love fully utilizing that overpriced fruit – or are they vegetables? – sold each year to make a few “earthy” desserts. What else are you going to do with it? Smash it?
You can bet your perfectly folded white cloth napkin that if Martha Stewart, or perhaps the more familiar (and more well-liked) Sue Doeden read that I make pies from “jack” pumpkins, they’d have a word or two to say.
“You’re jackin’ up the recipe!”
In fact, I already received an earful from my boyfriend’s mother. Some nerve, considering I willingly (with love!) sent a pie her way (for free) for Thanksgiving last year. The pie is rumored to have been consumed within minutes, thank you very much. However, more recently, she preached about “pie pumpkins” and spoke some not-so-friendly words about how terrible it is to create a pie from a “Jack” pumpkin.
Slightly annoyed, I kindly reminded her that her and her family enjoyed a “Jack” pie last year.
“You CAN’T use ‘Jack’ pumpkins to cook with! You HAVE to use PIE pumpkins!” she insisted.
This is coming from a mother who failed to teach her first-born child (a.k.a. my boyfriend) that a diet consisting solely of granola bars and pickled beets is not normal. Or that clean clothes are ideally stored separately from dirty clothes which ideally shouldn’t be spread over an entire bedroom floor.
But when it comes to pies she’s a pro?
Instead of talking back, I allowed her to fill me in on what a wonderful baker she is as I managed to successfully keep my mouth shut.
Then I realized this could potentially be a problem that will never go away. If her son and I decide to spend more than a few happy months together, this “pie” scenario is quickly going to become a pain in my rear rather than a joy every Thanksgiving and Christmas.
No. Way. Either he’s not worth it or she needs to learn that a pumpkin is a pumpkin.
The only possible way to solve this is to do a taste test. I’m sending her family another “Jack” pie this Thanksgiving (in case it’s an acquired taste and to give her an opportunity to back down).
Then, for Christmas, I will prepare my good-ol-Jack pie from the pumpkin that greeted trick-or-treaters on my porch this Halloween. I’ll also prepare one with the “pie pumpkin” she forced me to take home. Then, we’ll let Little Miss Pie Pumpkin do the taste test.
If she can’t tell or guesses wrong, she’ll get the “pie pumpkin” pie in the face. If she is able to correctly differentiate, I’ll know she’s right and we can put this whole thing behind us and move on.
Shootin’ the Wit is a column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.