I don't care what anyone says. You could go to pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and work as a pastry chef for years at the finest restaurants in the world. But no one, and I mean no one, can make pie like grandma can! When I say grandma, I don't necessarily mean mine or yours. It is more of just a generic title that I give to all grandmas. I wonder, what age is it when one suddenly gets bestowed upon them the magical gift of making amazing pies? It makes me look forward to aging. Maybe one night after my children have all been married off and I have just celebrated retirement, the magic pie fairy will come into my window and slip a secret recipe card under my pillow, along with some "amazing pie" dust.
Until then I will have to keep trucking on and learning from the greats as much as I can. I remember most vividly the pumpkin pies from my grandma, but this Thanksgiving I got a lesson from my grandmother-in-law. Do you remember this picture?
Well, that pie was a collaborative effort. You see Eleanor (my grandmother-in-law) has an ever so famous apple pie that she has made for holidays for years and years. But for her, just like for many, when the pie fairy left her gifts, she took with her the vigor of youth. Eleanor does not have the energy to move about the kitchen, chopping apples to 1/8 of an inch, and mixing butter and flour into pea sized bits with her fingers, so I have had the honour of the torch being passed to me.
So, on Thanksgiving Eleanor sat right next to me, and instructed to me step-by-step everything I did. In fact, it was kinda like the movie "Ratatouille," where the rat pulls on the hair of the chef like a puppet. Except she did not sit on my shoulders. I concentrated very hard, trying to remember every little nuance and method. She withheld the magic "amazing pie" dust, but I imagine she's not allowed to reveal that.
In the end, I did not know how my pie compared, because I had not had years of holidays in that family to know what they were expecting. The consesus from everyone else was "not exactly like grandma's, but still just as good!" I could definitely take that! I really had great fun learning. Sometimes you can learn more from the people around you than you could from Julia Child. Now, for the kids who had Julia Child for a grandma....man....what kinda pies did that combination create?