pie therapy

i’m convinced that i was born in the wrong era.  i should have been a 1940’s – 1950’s mom.  keeping house . . . baking pies . . . raising children . . . that would be my ideal life.  this afternoon i am getting a taste of it and i’m loving the warm feeling it gives me.  as i sit at my little corner desk in my dining room typing away, everyone in my house is peacefully napping (yes, tom included!).  the doggies are at “the beach” (i.e. sunbathing in the living room), tom and lily are sleeping on our bed, and gus is sprawled out on his back in the nursery.  this truly is “the life”.  (and yes, i know that i live in some weirdo norman rockwell fantasy life!)

my day has been pretty hard and kind of sucked until this afternoon.  my time management was seriously jacked today.  i stayed out too long running errands resulting in lunch not even being served until 2:45 . . . two hours later than normal!  lily didn’t even go down for a nap until well after 3:30.  it was a total mothering fail.  but the game changer that made this day better was the idea to bake a homemade apple pie from scratch.  normally, i would try to channel my inner julia child or martha stewart, but not today.  the only faces that came to my mind were of my mother and ningle.

anna gysin, “ningle” as my family lovingly called her, was my great grandmother (on my mother’s side) and apparently the best cook in our family.  i have very few memories of spending time with her before her passing, as i was quite young when she died and none of them are of her cooking.  my auntie tells me how she learned to cook and bake from ningle.  i love to hear stories of her and think of how she must have felt . . . raising two sons so close in age . . . becoming a widow at such a young age, etc.  i know that she was special because when my auntie talks about her she does so with great affection.  as i stood in my kitchen a short time ago rolling out pie crust, i wondered if she was looking down at me and feeling proud of her great granddaughter’s efforts.  i’d like to think that she was.

smelling the pie baking reminds me of my own childhood.  i remember coming home from school to find my mom sitting at the kitchen table with a big yellow plastic bowl of apple peels.  she’d be baking a pie for my dad or as a special treat for someone at church and we’d sit and talk about my day as i ate peel after peel.  i love that memory.

so, even though today didn’t go exactly as i had hoped, i still count it as a success.  i was able to reflect on family while baking for my own little family . . . and after dinner we’ll have an awesome autumn dessert!

modern day mama!



Filed under family

2 responses to “pie therapy

  1. You are so stinkin’ cute! Love the pic and the story. I don’t seem to have the gift of home making quite like you do, but always have desired it. So I lived vicariously through your story. Inspiring 🙂

  2. I wish I were a 1940s (or 1930s) mom, too! I’m never happier than when I’m doing what I call ‘playing house’.

    Ningle WAS a special person, and my dearest companion while I was growing up. She taught me everything I know about baking and cooking. Your apple pie reminds me of a funny story:
    I was a newlywed and decided to make my very first apple pie from scratch… I called Ning and asked her for the recipe, which she gave me. The filling was easy — real measurements — so I made that first. The crust . . .well, that was a different story. She told me to cut in the shortening and add water.
    “How much?”, I asked.
    “Enough”, she replied.
    “Enough? What does that mean?”, I asked.
    “Enough that it looks right”, she told me.
    A half hour later, my crust was a wet, gloppy mess and I was locked in the bathroom crying (of course, I was dealing with the realization that I was a total failure as a wife).
    Jim, Lord love him, wanted to know what was wrong and when I told him, he went and got the filling from the counter and ate a bowl of it.
    “Well, the filling is great!”, he said through the bathroom door.
    Needless to say, our marriage (and my home) was saved and I’ve never had another pie failure since.
    So, when I had to tell someone else how to make a pie crust, guess how much water I told her to add? You guessed it — “Enough”!

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