Thursday, October 30, 2008
A terrifying birthday and pie
For the fourth day of Halloween week, the Blond Duck presents...a terrifying birthday.
Don't let this picture fool you. My dad can be a scary man.
He grew up in a cattle ranch in West Texas, battled foes in the corporate world and fights bears bare-handed in his spare time.
That's what he told me, anyway.
Imagine seeing this face bellowing at you to wake up before 8 a.m. on weekends while Junior Brown blares in the background and you're 16 years old.
Now I get up at 6 a.m. on the weekends and 4:30 a.m. on weekdays. Thanks, Daddy.
Emotional scars aside, I knew exactly what my Dad wanted for his birthday. A big bag of car wax and shop towels, some hamburgers cooked by someone else, meaning me (free lunch!) and this.
I had to get my love of pie somewhere, people. I am a girl after my Daddy's heart. So I made him a pecan pie. From scratch. Even the crust was from scratch, people. There were no store bought crusts here! (I forgot to buy them.) I've never made a pecan pie before, but dang it, it was Daddy's birthday.
He was thrilled, as you can see.
We grill the hamburgers, set out the fruit salad, chips and salsa, and big out. I bring out the pie and I hear, "Where's the gravy?"
You see, my Dad wants gravy for everything. Gravy can be anything from spaghetti sauce to barbecue sauce to squeeze butter to icing to jelly to real gravy. In this case, he wanted Cool Whip. We were all out. Poor Daddy looked at his gravy-less pie with a look of complete resignation. And then I heard the most brilliant words ever.
"Hey girl," Ben said. "Why don't you make him the cinnamon roll gravy?"
Why didn't I think of it! The Alton Brown Cinnamon Roll icing! I leaped up, whipped up the icing and handed him the bowl.
He really likes gravy.
Really likes it.
Normally, my Dad groans and pulls out the Pepto Bismal anytime I cook. But not this time. This time he inhaled his pie happily.
Daddy, you may have terrified me when I was younger, but now I just see you're eccentric.
What terrifies me is I see more of you in me every day, from my eyes to the fact I leave all the cabinet doors open in the mornings.
I'll be as weird as you before I know it.
Happy birthday, Daddy.
* Pie and pastry recipe from my favorite book, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.
3 beaten eggs
1 cup corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1) Combine eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla. Mix well.
2) *** Place crust in pie plate. Set plate on oven rack. Pour majority of mixture into it.
3) Mix pecans with remaining mixture, then pour into plate.
4) Bake for 45 minutes or longer until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean. Mine took over an hour. To prevent the crust from browning, cover with foil.
5) ***When knife comes out clean and the pie is no longer wobbly, broil on low for one minute to make the top crisp. Cool and serve.
***= my changes.
Tomorrow, we come to the end of the Halloween week....and to the end of Abby's tale at the haunted diner. Can she save the ghosts from an eternity or torment? Or will her own soul be trapped? Stay tuned....