Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Little Slice of Heaven

Mom (and both Grandmas) used to cook with lard all the time. She even had a can of bacon grease that she kept in the fridge - they used to make special cans for that. It matched her canister set and had a removable sieve at the top to catch the bacon bits as the grease was poured in. No wonder everything tasted so much better in my childhood... oh, the glorious Sunday dinners. Porkchops (thick ones with a layer of fat on the edge and lots of flavor), smashers (made with butter and half-n-half), the dreaded over-cooked vegetable sidedish (pass), fresh bread (a vehicle for more butter), and finally... a slice of pie. Mom was an ace at making pies - taught me everything I know about that lost art.

I love making pies - it's total zen for me. Mine are famous on three continents (with apple clearly taking the lead), and I was reminded yesterday that I haven't made one in a very long time. It's a dessert that, done properly, can make certain grown men weep. Nah, ain't namin' names - some are family members and I don't need the backlash at the next gathering. There's something so satisfying about taking 4 very basic, plain ingredients and turning them into artwork. All it takes (sure, you can embellish, but...) is: flour, butter (or lard), sugar and fruit. It's all in the crust, baby, and in the words of the Wicked Witch of the West, "These things must be done delicately." There's no rushing as the butter gets cut into the flour, no hurriedly smash 'em up stirring as the ice water gets added, then it's gently patted and shaped into a patty, then rolled out with even strokes. It's a thing of beauty before it even gets baked.

And once it's done? Whew. My gustatory descriptions fail me here. But, you come on over, give me a good two hour warning (need some time to let it cool), and I'll prove my pie-baking prowess. Game on. Free pie, no lie.

Apropos of eating too many desserts and my boasting about the creation of said, your word for the day is:
Turgid
Pronunced: ter-jid
It's an adjective from the Latin turgidus, to be swollen
1: being in a state of distension : swollen,
2: excessively embellished in style or language: bombastic, pompous

2 comments:

  1. OMG do I remember food cooked with bacon grease.. Mom just put it in a tin on the stove. No strainer there- and I was a skinny kid! Best scrambled eggs are in a bit of bacon grease! loved yest re words.. amen! READ! my kids used to tease me about the "big" words.. I said READ! thanks for Harry Potter!
    v

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  2. darn it barb, ya got me licking my lips at that. Well it was lard here as well but oil replaced it and it didn't start to taste the same but the thing is the lard needed to "age" a little get some flavor as well fresh "dripping" was well tasteless really annoying mind you saying that I can't remember the last time I actually enjoyed something just done simply as there was no taste to it what so ever..
    That being said do make some rather wicked rock buns (cakes) that taste sweeter than they really should, it's all in the sugar ;) half n half - white n brown :)...
    Nice word btw.

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