Tall Drink of Nerd: Thanksgiving Pie Edition

 In *Archives, Amy Robinson

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A blogumn by Amy Robinson

I can’t bake a pumpkin pie like my Mom’s.  I asked her for the recipe once, many years ago, hoping she’d share the family secret.  She said, “It’s on the label of the canned pumpkin.”  My Mother – the gourmet.  All the variations I’ve attempted from this little orange paper scrap of a recipe don’t measure up to anything I grew up with.  Maybe it’s the difference in altitude, she’s Rocky Mountain high and I’m at sea level; maybe it’s a difference between my brand new oven and her 25 yr old oven; maybe pies taste better when you’re surrounded by 30 noisy family members.

I can’t make a piecrust like my Mom’s.  Once, many years ago, I made a kick-ass piecrust, lovingly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, but couldn’t repeat it.  After years of failed attempts at a crust, all of them crumbly and puzzled-pieced into the pie tin, I asked my Mom what I was doing wrong.  “I haven’t made a crust in 20 years.” She told me.  “Go buy the Pillsbury crust.  They’re just as good as homemade” She’s right about the crusts, but they still don’t taste like they used to.

I can’t make an apple pie like my Mom’s.  She uses pie filling she’d canned earlier in the year.  Every fall, Mom heats up a big black kettle on her stove, tosses in a few bushels of cored apples from the apple tree, a few dozen cups of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Her kitchen smells like apple pie.  The teen me hated helping her can, all that coring and peeling of apples wrinkled my fingers, but I would love coming home from school to that cinnamon smell warming the kitchen.  Mom would always set aside a little bit of filling for us to snack on.  I think that smell made her hungry.

Mom has stacks of canned goods in her basement.  In addition to pie filling, canned peaches and cherries, she makes the best pickles in the county.  Now, I don’t get any of that good stuff.  I moved 1,495 miles away and she doesn’t want to ship her jars that far.  She likes to re-use the jars.  I used to be able to take the pie filling with me when I flew, but after the TSA took over the airports, one of those jars is too much liquid in a carry on bag.  Since I can’t make a pie like my Mom’s (though I’m still trying), I have to get my fill of pumpkin and apple pie when I go home.

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Photo Credit: Dale C/flickr.com
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Showing 32 comments
  • (Thought) Chuck

    I can't make a pie like my mom's either, Amy – my pies are all better than hers. 😉

    If you're serious about pie-making (and what chic, hip, fierce nerd is not?), I recommend picking up a copy of "Pie" by Ken Haedrich – it's an amazing cookbook with 300 "tried-and-true" pie recipes, as well as a dozen plus different crust recipes (it even differentiates in methods between doing it by hand or with a food processor, which I've found is easier and less time consuming.) I've made ten different pies from it and I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Best part about it is I've never made a bad crust (except for the time I used salted instead of unsalted butter – which is one of those pie no-no's.) So log on to Amazon.com or hit the nearest Barnes & Noble and grab a copy (hardcover recommended, as the soft bound copy's binding cracks easily.)

  • (Thought) Chuck

    I can't make a pie like my mom's either, Amy – my pies are all better than hers. 😉

    If you're serious about pie-making (and what chic, hip, fierce nerd is not?), I recommend picking up a copy of "Pie" by Ken Haedrich – it's an amazing cookbook with 300 "tried-and-true" pie recipes, as well as a dozen plus different crust recipes (it even differentiates in methods between doing it by hand or with a food processor, which I've found is easier and less time consuming.) I've made ten different pies from it and I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Best part about it is I've never made a bad crust (except for the time I used salted instead of unsalted butter – which is one of those pie no-no's.) So log on to Amazon.com or hit the nearest Barnes & Noble and grab a copy (hardcover recommended, as the soft bound copy's binding cracks easily.)

  • (Thought) Chuck

    I can't make a pie like my mom's either, Amy – my pies are all better than hers. 😉

    If you're serious about pie-making (and what chic, hip, fierce nerd is not?), I recommend picking up a copy of "Pie" by Ken Haedrich – it's an amazing cookbook with 300 "tried-and-true" pie recipes, as well as a dozen plus different crust recipes (it even differentiates in methods between doing it by hand or with a food processor, which I've found is easier and less time consuming.) I've made ten different pies from it and I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Best part about it is I've never made a bad crust (except for the time I used salted instead of unsalted butter – which is one of those pie no-no's.) So log on to Amazon.com or hit the nearest Barnes & Noble and grab a copy (hardcover recommended, as the soft bound copy's binding cracks easily.)

  • (Thought) Chuck

    I can't make a pie like my mom's either, Amy – my pies are all better than hers. 😉

    If you're serious about pie-making (and what chic, hip, fierce nerd is not?), I recommend picking up a copy of "Pie" by Ken Haedrich – it's an amazing cookbook with 300 "tried-and-true" pie recipes, as well as a dozen plus different crust recipes (it even differentiates in methods between doing it by hand or with a food processor, which I've found is easier and less time consuming.) I've made ten different pies from it and I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Best part about it is I've never made a bad crust (except for the time I used salted instead of unsalted butter – which is one of those pie no-no's.) So log on to Amazon.com or hit the nearest Barnes & Noble and grab a copy (hardcover recommended, as the soft bound copy's binding cracks easily.)

  • (Thought) Chuck

    I can't make a pie like my mom's either, Amy – my pies are all better than hers. 😉

    If you're serious about pie-making (and what chic, hip, fierce nerd is not?), I recommend picking up a copy of "Pie" by Ken Haedrich – it's an amazing cookbook with 300 "tried-and-true" pie recipes, as well as a dozen plus different crust recipes (it even differentiates in methods between doing it by hand or with a food processor, which I've found is easier and less time consuming.) I've made ten different pies from it and I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Best part about it is I've never made a bad crust (except for the time I used salted instead of unsalted butter – which is one of those pie no-no's.) So log on to Amazon.com or hit the nearest Barnes & Noble and grab a copy (hardcover recommended, as the soft bound copy's binding cracks easily.)

  • (Thought) Chuck

    I can't make a pie like my mom's either, Amy – my pies are all better than hers. 😉

    If you're serious about pie-making (and what chic, hip, fierce nerd is not?), I recommend picking up a copy of "Pie" by Ken Haedrich – it's an amazing cookbook with 300 "tried-and-true" pie recipes, as well as a dozen plus different crust recipes (it even differentiates in methods between doing it by hand or with a food processor, which I've found is easier and less time consuming.) I've made ten different pies from it and I can't recommend it highly enough.

    Best part about it is I've never made a bad crust (except for the time I used salted instead of unsalted butter – which is one of those pie no-no's.) So log on to Amazon.com or hit the nearest Barnes & Noble and grab a copy (hardcover recommended, as the soft bound copy's binding cracks easily.)

  • AmyQOTWF

    Awesome tip on the cookbook Chuck! I think my crusts turned bad on me when I stopped using Crisco and tried to use a healthier alternatives. Healthy pie? What I was trying to prove! I'm shopping now for my First Food Processor (does Fischer Price make one?) Any suggestions on an affordable option?

  • AmyQOTWF

    Awesome tip on the cookbook Chuck! I think my crusts turned bad on me when I stopped using Crisco and tried to use a healthier alternatives. Healthy pie? What I was trying to prove! I'm shopping now for my First Food Processor (does Fischer Price make one?) Any suggestions on an affordable option?

  • AmyQOTWF

    Awesome tip on the cookbook Chuck! I think my crusts turned bad on me when I stopped using Crisco and tried to use a healthier alternatives. Healthy pie? What I was trying to prove! I'm shopping now for my First Food Processor (does Fischer Price make one?) Any suggestions on an affordable option?

  • AmyQOTWF

    Awesome tip on the cookbook Chuck! I think my crusts turned bad on me when I stopped using Crisco and tried to use a healthier alternatives. Healthy pie? What I was trying to prove! I'm shopping now for my First Food Processor (does Fischer Price make one?) Any suggestions on an affordable option?

  • AmyQOTWF

    Awesome tip on the cookbook Chuck! I think my crusts turned bad on me when I stopped using Crisco and tried to use a healthier alternatives. Healthy pie? What I was trying to prove! I'm shopping now for my First Food Processor (does Fischer Price make one?) Any suggestions on an affordable option?

  • AmyQOTWF

    Awesome tip on the cookbook Chuck! I think my crusts turned bad on me when I stopped using Crisco and tried to use a healthier alternatives. Healthy pie? What I was trying to prove! I'm shopping now for my First Food Processor (does Fischer Price make one?) Any suggestions on an affordable option?

  • ernessa

    Okay, I'm with CH's sister and mom. And they say Cuisinart is the best. But cheap-wise go with Hamiliton Beach. And if you're just cooking for you and Seen, CH's mom says try a mini-processor — but not a Wolfgang Puck one, b/c that one broke on CH's sister. They both suggest going to Amazon or online to try to find a good deal.

    Chuck, I'm also a better cook than my mom — bless her little heart. But I appreciate Amy's sentiment. 🙂

  • ernessa

    Okay, I'm with CH's sister and mom. And they say Cuisinart is the best. But cheap-wise go with Hamiliton Beach. And if you're just cooking for you and Seen, CH's mom says try a mini-processor — but not a Wolfgang Puck one, b/c that one broke on CH's sister. They both suggest going to Amazon or online to try to find a good deal.

    Chuck, I'm also a better cook than my mom — bless her little heart. But I appreciate Amy's sentiment. 🙂

  • ernessa

    Okay, I'm with CH's sister and mom. And they say Cuisinart is the best. But cheap-wise go with Hamiliton Beach. And if you're just cooking for you and Seen, CH's mom says try a mini-processor — but not a Wolfgang Puck one, b/c that one broke on CH's sister. They both suggest going to Amazon or online to try to find a good deal.

    Chuck, I'm also a better cook than my mom — bless her little heart. But I appreciate Amy's sentiment. 🙂

  • ernessa

    Okay, I'm with CH's sister and mom. And they say Cuisinart is the best. But cheap-wise go with Hamiliton Beach. And if you're just cooking for you and Seen, CH's mom says try a mini-processor — but not a Wolfgang Puck one, b/c that one broke on CH's sister. They both suggest going to Amazon or online to try to find a good deal.

    Chuck, I'm also a better cook than my mom — bless her little heart. But I appreciate Amy's sentiment. 🙂

  • ernessa

    Okay, I'm with CH's sister and mom. And they say Cuisinart is the best. But cheap-wise go with Hamiliton Beach. And if you're just cooking for you and Seen, CH's mom says try a mini-processor — but not a Wolfgang Puck one, b/c that one broke on CH's sister. They both suggest going to Amazon or online to try to find a good deal.

    Chuck, I'm also a better cook than my mom — bless her little heart. But I appreciate Amy's sentiment. 🙂

  • Abbybaggy

    It's all about the love they're made with, though I have a feeling Mom's not standing there thinking "well, I just need to add a little more love now". No gourmet pies can measure up to Mom's homemade – even when it is a label recipe & store bought crust. However, some day you will HAVE to make pie for me!

  • Abbybaggy

    It's all about the love they're made with, though I have a feeling Mom's not standing there thinking "well, I just need to add a little more love now". No gourmet pies can measure up to Mom's homemade – even when it is a label recipe & store bought crust. However, some day you will HAVE to make pie for me!

  • Abbybaggy

    It's all about the love they're made with, though I have a feeling Mom's not standing there thinking "well, I just need to add a little more love now". No gourmet pies can measure up to Mom's homemade – even when it is a label recipe & store bought crust. However, some day you will HAVE to make pie for me!

  • Abbybaggy

    It's all about the love they're made with, though I have a feeling Mom's not standing there thinking "well, I just need to add a little more love now". No gourmet pies can measure up to Mom's homemade – even when it is a label recipe & store bought crust. However, some day you will HAVE to make pie for me!

  • Abbybaggy

    It's all about the love they're made with, though I have a feeling Mom's not standing there thinking "well, I just need to add a little more love now". No gourmet pies can measure up to Mom's homemade – even when it is a label recipe & store bought crust. However, some day you will HAVE to make pie for me!

  • Abbybaggy

    It's all about the love they're made with, though I have a feeling Mom's not standing there thinking "well, I just need to add a little more love now". No gourmet pies can measure up to Mom's homemade – even when it is a label recipe & store bought crust. However, some day you will HAVE to make pie for me!

  • Kalimba

    I'm an avid pie maker myself. I bet your Mom might think your pie is better – why? because she didn't have to make it. I think they always taste better when someone who loves you has put the effort into feeding your sweet belly and you just get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

  • Kalimba

    I'm an avid pie maker myself. I bet your Mom might think your pie is better – why? because she didn't have to make it. I think they always taste better when someone who loves you has put the effort into feeding your sweet belly and you just get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

  • Kalimba

    I'm an avid pie maker myself. I bet your Mom might think your pie is better – why? because she didn't have to make it. I think they always taste better when someone who loves you has put the effort into feeding your sweet belly and you just get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

  • Kalimba

    I'm an avid pie maker myself. I bet your Mom might think your pie is better – why? because she didn't have to make it. I think they always taste better when someone who loves you has put the effort into feeding your sweet belly and you just get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.

  • JeffRogers

    Late in the game to comment on this post, perhaps, but I've been meaning to ever since I read it at Thanksgiving. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs in the world: "Canned Goods" by Greg Brown. Have you heard it? If you haven't heard it I know you'll like it. Might even bring tears to your eyes as it often does to mine somehow. I prefer the live version off a CD called "One Night." Some of the choicest lyrics:

    "Peaches on the shelf
    Potatoes in the bin
    Supper's ready, everybody come on in
    Taste a little of the summer,
    Taste a little of the summer,
    You can taste a little of the summer
    my grandma put it all in jars…

    Ah, she's got magic in her – you know what I mean
    She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans…

    She cans the pickles, sweet & dill
    She cans the songs of the whippoorwill
    And the morning dew and the evening moon
    'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon
    'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store
    Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

    You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born
    I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm."

    Lovely, isn't it?

  • JeffRogers

    Late in the game to comment on this post, perhaps, but I've been meaning to ever since I read it at Thanksgiving. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs in the world: "Canned Goods" by Greg Brown. Have you heard it? If you haven't heard it I know you'll like it. Might even bring tears to your eyes as it often does to mine somehow. I prefer the live version off a CD called "One Night." Some of the choicest lyrics:

    "Peaches on the shelf
    Potatoes in the bin
    Supper's ready, everybody come on in
    Taste a little of the summer,
    Taste a little of the summer,
    You can taste a little of the summer
    my grandma put it all in jars…

    Ah, she's got magic in her – you know what I mean
    She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans…

    She cans the pickles, sweet & dill
    She cans the songs of the whippoorwill
    And the morning dew and the evening moon
    'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon
    'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store
    Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

    You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born
    I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm."

    Lovely, isn't it?

  • JeffRogers

    Late in the game to comment on this post, perhaps, but I've been meaning to ever since I read it at Thanksgiving. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs in the world: "Canned Goods" by Greg Brown. Have you heard it? If you haven't heard it I know you'll like it. Might even bring tears to your eyes as it often does to mine somehow. I prefer the live version off a CD called "One Night." Some of the choicest lyrics:

    "Peaches on the shelf
    Potatoes in the bin
    Supper's ready, everybody come on in
    Taste a little of the summer,
    Taste a little of the summer,
    You can taste a little of the summer
    my grandma put it all in jars…

    Ah, she's got magic in her – you know what I mean
    She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans…

    She cans the pickles, sweet & dill
    She cans the songs of the whippoorwill
    And the morning dew and the evening moon
    'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon
    'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store
    Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

    You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born
    I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm."

    Lovely, isn't it?

  • JeffRogers

    Late in the game to comment on this post, perhaps, but I've been meaning to ever since I read it at Thanksgiving. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs in the world: "Canned Goods" by Greg Brown. Have you heard it? If you haven't heard it I know you'll like it. Might even bring tears to your eyes as it often does to mine somehow. I prefer the live version off a CD called "One Night." Some of the choicest lyrics:

    "Peaches on the shelf
    Potatoes in the bin
    Supper's ready, everybody come on in
    Taste a little of the summer,
    Taste a little of the summer,
    You can taste a little of the summer
    my grandma put it all in jars…

    Ah, she's got magic in her – you know what I mean
    She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans…

    She cans the pickles, sweet & dill
    She cans the songs of the whippoorwill
    And the morning dew and the evening moon
    'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon
    'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store
    Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

    You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born
    I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm."

    Lovely, isn't it?

  • JeffRogers

    Late in the game to comment on this post, perhaps, but I've been meaning to ever since I read it at Thanksgiving. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs in the world: "Canned Goods" by Greg Brown. Have you heard it? If you haven't heard it I know you'll like it. Might even bring tears to your eyes as it often does to mine somehow. I prefer the live version off a CD called "One Night." Some of the choicest lyrics:

    "Peaches on the shelf
    Potatoes in the bin
    Supper's ready, everybody come on in
    Taste a little of the summer,
    Taste a little of the summer,
    You can taste a little of the summer
    my grandma put it all in jars…

    Ah, she's got magic in her – you know what I mean
    She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans…

    She cans the pickles, sweet & dill
    She cans the songs of the whippoorwill
    And the morning dew and the evening moon
    'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon
    'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store
    Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

    You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born
    I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm."

    Lovely, isn't it?

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