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.

Pecan pie

Pie pastry
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....


Cakelaw said...

Happy birthday to your Dad! Not sure that I know why he needed the "gravy" 'cause the pie looked good without it, but he sure looked as though he enjoyed his pie.

Katherine Aucoin said...

You know how to make birthday dreams come true. I hope my children turn out as thoughtful as you. Your pecan pie looks so good, but I think I would love the "gravy" on it too.

Barbara Bakes said...

Gravy on pie - who would have thought? Your gravy sounds great!

Grace said...

what a lovely homage to your pop. :)
the pie looks great, and with the "gravy," it sounds even better! i hope that crust didn't go to waste. :)

nikkicrumpet said...

oh my GOSH...that was so funny. I love the picture of him "thrilled" with his pie! He reminds me so much of my own dad...except for the quirky gravy thing...what is up with that? What a lovely tribute to your dad. I bet he loved it as much as the pie and the shop cloths!

Theresa said...

So "Sweet" of you. So thoughtful. I guess no matter what, he's gotta have the gravy!

Aleta said...

Yummmm, Pecan Pie - that is a favorite around my home town. Never thought of putting gravy of any sort over it... so that's um, interesting. Really cute post. Your father's expressions are too funny. That's like my Dad - he has an Awesome sense of humor, but to catch him smiling for the camera, it has to be one of those moments that he's not posed, because otherwise, he's serious looking into the camera. Greg thought my Dad would be a mean guy from the pictures I had at my home, but then he meet him and was pleasantly surprised. Hope your Dad had a Happy Birthday!

Mary Ann said...

You are so funny! I love your dad's expressions through the whole thing! And the gravy thing is so silly! My dad loves gravy too. This pecan pie looks delish- my Southern friends would love it!

Cathy said...

Great looking pie! And nice job whipping up some gravy on the fly like that. Looks like a perfect birthday meal to me!

Pam said...

You crack me up. Your Dad's expressions don't change throughout the pictures! The pecan pie looks amazing but I'll take it without the gravy ;).

Anonymous said...

How my! Did he go into a sugar coma? Happy Birthday to him!

Maria said...

Happy Birthday to your pops! He must have a super sweet tooth:) The pie looks awesome!

Ingrid said...

AAAAAAAAawwwwwwwww! What a great post! I love my Dad & Daddy! I'm a lucky girl and have TWO! My parents divorced when I was young. My Mother remarried to a WONDERFUL, LOVING man who raised me. Each of them are special to me and are quite different from each other in all but one way, they love me!

I think that's hilarious about the gravy! Your honey was a life saver with his gravy idea!

BTW, where's the rest of my story, Twirl? I believe you mentioned on another blog you wouldn't leave, well, neither will I. I want my story!

kellypea said...

I just grin and grin when I read your posts. Love them so much. My dad scared the hell out of me period! Happy Bday to your dad. He's lucky to have such a nice daughter. That pie looks and sounds scruptious -- gravy or no gravy. ;)

Pumpkin said...

Mmm... Cinnamon roll gravy...
Seriously, the gravy thing cracked me up.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birday Duckies Dad! Can we call him Daddy Duck?? It was very sweet of you to make him pie Duckie, I'm ssooooo looking forward to the end of your scary halloween story!

Sandy Toes said...

Happy Birthday to DAD! Pecan pie that is the best birthday treat ever!
-sandy toes

CookiePie said...

What a sweet daughter you are! And that pie looks delicious -- I bet the "gravy" only made a good thing even better! :)

Marie said...

Happy Birthday to your daddy! Looks like a fabulous pie Duckie! You are welcome to come over here and bake it for me anytime and with gravy too!!! Well done you!

Emiline said...

Happy birthday, Dad!

He looks like such a happy man...

That pie looks good. No topping necessary! Does he like real whipped cream?

You need to sleep in! Sometimes I go to bed that late.

Lilly's Life said...

That post was too cute, Love your father's expression - dead pan. But he loved that pie. I am going to try to make that pie too - love Pecan pie without the gravy of course.

Greg C said...

I use the recipe on the back of the kero syrup bottle and it works everytime. The secret is to use good fresh pecans. Great job and loved the gravy story.

The W.O.W. factor said...

What a great daughter you are!!! I'm sure he is pleased as punch watching you become more and more like him! He must be wonderful, because you emit laughter in all you do!

Live.Love.Eat said...

I loved that story, meant to comment on it yesterday but I think I had to get off from my PC quickly for something. Oh yea, it was to go make a pecan pie :) The gravy thing is funny. I never heard the term used for everything like that. This was really cute!!!!!!

Marjie said...

Happy belated birthday, Duckie's daddy. My dearly beloved won't eat anything without some form of topping on it either, and I'm personally glad he doesn't call whipped cream "gravy"!

Joie de vivre said...

That is such a sweet tribute.

Lori said...

That was thrill in his face? Uh, could you be more specific where it is.... (Wink, wink). That was very sweet of you. I'm sure he loved every minute of it.

mikky said...

belated birthday greeting to your dad... treasure each moment with him... they are priceless... i love the idea of the sweet gravy... :) thanks for stopping by, btw...

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

That was super enduring! (Doe he ever smile?) and I bet the icing was better than cool whip - HANDS DOWN!!!!!!!!!!
(ps - my dad never smiled either-that I can remember)

Lorraine E said...

Awww so sweet of you to make that for him and I'm so glad that the "cool whip" saved the day. He really does seem to love the gravy!

Anonymous said...