Thursday, November 14, 2013

An expert in her field ...


Marlene Terry
It's as if you shut the door on October, and the very next day, you wake up to the scent of pine and cranberries, and the smell of something wonderful baking in the oven.
Magically the holidays are upon us. And don't we all just love it?

Of course, it makes us tired just to think about the few short weeks that are left 'til Christmas, and everything that has to be accomplished by then. But let's not forget to take the time to think about that other wonderful holiday that leads up to all of that. ... The one that begins with us remembering what we're thankful for — family, friends, good health, and circumstance — and ends in the kitchen as we prepare those special "once-a-year" dishes.

With that in mind, I just can't resist sharing the memory of the Thanksgiving Day when tutored by my mother-in-law Sybil, I learned how to make a REAL pumpkin pie.

Nearly a century old, Sybil is a cook to be reckoned with. 
... Truly an expert in her field, she's never relied on the printed word when it came to homemade and what makes it GOOD!
... And I smile every time I think about the the things she taught me the first year she and Dad came to our house for the Thanksgiving holiday.

There she sat in the kitchen that morning, still in her nightgown but also with an oven mitt and wearing an apron. She was trying hard to be patient as she waited for me to get started with the pies.

Intimidating?

Oh yeah! But also very amusing.

And then I opened the can of Libby's® 100% Pure Pumpkin and prepared to follow the recipe printed on the label!

"I read that recipe too," she said smiling. "It will probably make some very nice pies."

... There was just something about the way she emphasized the word "probably" that told me I should ask.

"Is there anything you'd do differently, Mom?" I questioned her.

She lit up like a Christmas tree, and quickly headed to the mixing bowl to guide me through the process, which thankfully included mixing up the canned pumpkin I'd already opened. 
... However that's where Sybil and the recipe I intended to follow parted ways.


It didn't take long at all, with "an egg or two," being whisked into the mixture at just the right moment, along with "a pinch of cinnamon, salt and nutmeg," and "just a drop of buttermilk."
... You know, the buttermilk you stir into the filling very carefully just at the moment the color of the pumpkin changes to "not as orange as it used to be and more creamy looking than before!"

And when the shells were filled we placed the pies in the oven to bake. 

"Make sure you take them out when the filling is just the right texture," was Sybil's final instruction to me, as she turned toward her bedroom yawning and hoping for a little more sleep.  
"... You know. That's when you stick the end of a table knife into the center and the filling wants to stick to it ... but doesn't!"

Needless to say the day was absolutely wonderful. 
... And the pies?

A triumph!

Want the recipe? 

... Just follow the one printed on the back of a can of Libby's® 100% Pure Pumpkin. 

... And then give Sybil a call so she can tell you how you should REALLY make that pie!

♦ Hope you'll let me share YOUR stories and photos here at my residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at nutshellstories@gmail.com.