So the Holiday Season snuck right up on us, huh? Its amazing that an entire season can go unnoticed until it is on us seeing as we are all adults and we own calendars . . . and we have known the months of the year since before kindergarten.
The Holiday Season really starts with Halloween these days. Especially if you apply my personal definition of Holiday Season to the formula for deciding when the Holidays start. I figure the first big eating holiday of the fall (winter if you live where I do) marks the start of the Holidays and these days that is Halloween. I know it’s mostly candy at Halloween, but my boys are all about the candy. So the Holidays have been here for awhile . . . which makes Thanksgiving sneaking up on me even more embarrassing.
For me the Holidays seem like one giant overeating experience . . . I don’t mean to over eat . . . it just kind of happens. Sometime in late October candy starts showing up and after that it starts smelling like pie and turkey . . . and it just happens. Don’t get the wrong idea . . . I don’t break out the sweat pants and go grazing this time of year. I just get myself into situations. Like with pie for instance.
My wife makes one of the most wonderful pies I’ve ever tasted. She is a master at making Buttermilk Pie. Yes . . . butter milk pie. I can practically hear the noses turning up as I type this. I know how you are reacting because I reacted similarly when my bride of less than a year announced she was going to take a crack at this Southern delicacy. I was wrong and so are you . . . try it . . . really.
Buttermilk Pie is made from buttermilk and other ingredients that form a custard like filling when baked. It is similar to Chess Pie, but Chess Pie is apparently made with cornmeal while Buttermilk Pie uses flour. My wife’s family uses the names interchangeably and I don’t think anybody really cares. The result is a tangy, sweet cream pie that transports you to a place where, as my six-year-old Eli would put it, Rainbow Barfing Unicorns romp and play. It is that good.
My first experience with Buttermilk Pie was almost my last. My wife made her first Buttermilk Pie attempt before Thanksgiving in the first house we bought together. She poured a suspiciously loose liquid into prepared pie shells . . . don’t judge the pie shells . . . we were busy . . . and placed them in the oven. The smells coming from our oven were glorious and the resulting pies were gorgeous. However,upon inspection we realized I forgot to remove the wax paper from under one of the pie shells before baking it. Even though she was careful, the result of my wife’s attempt at removing the paper resulted in a mess of broken pie crust and custard. Warm, crisp pie crust . . . with warm soft filling . . . all sitting in an appetizing array. My wife suggested I try a piece of crust with filling on it. The first bite transported me to the land of the gastronomically challenged unicorns I mentioned before. It immediately became my favorite pie. I tried another small piece of filling-covered crusty goodness then pushed it away . . . it was far to rich to eat much more. Well, maybe just one more piece.
My wife went downstairs to do something and I went about my business. Occasionally I would sample a small piece of yumminess. I would pass by and sometimes grab a piece of crust. Not too much you understand . . . just a taste here and there.
After about an hour or so my stomach started bothering me. Oh no . . . I cursed my luck. This close to Thanksgiving and I was coming down with a stomach virus. I stretched uncomfortably and let out small burp.
“What was that noise?” my wife called from downstairs. I blinked. There was no way she could have heard that little burp. My stomach was really starting to hurt. My breath was coming in shallow gasps. This virus was moving fast.
“Nothing, Honey,” I called out as cheerfully as the bubbling in my stomach would allow.
“It didn’t sound like nothing,” my wife answered.
I was feeling just this side of awful and I needed to lie down. Hopefully this ninja-like stomach virus would pass before the real feasting began. I settled down on the sofa and a wave of nausea washed over me. My stomach rolled. Inside a small creature had formed and was poking my stomach walls and laughing. I swallowed hard and tried to relax.
I could hear my wife moving around downstairs. I needed her to come tend to me. The creature in my stomach poked really hard . . . hard enough to grab my gall bladder and twist. I let out a pained exhale and waited for the creature to find my spleen.
“What’s wrong with you?” my wife asked as she came up the stairs. “You don’t look so good.”
“I don’t know,” I gasped as the creature slapped my liver. “I was fine then I got really nauseous.” I said. “I think maybe I have a stomach bug.”
My wife came to the couch and felt my forehead. She ran her hands through my hair and smiled, then went to the kitchen. “I’m sorry you don’t feel well honey, I hope you are bet- – – WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PIE?”
I winced at the tone and volume she used. “We broke it when we were getting the wax paper out, remember?”
“Let me rephrase,” she said. “Where did the pie go?”
My wife is an attorney and she loves to ask questions. I was way too ill to answer these right now. “How am I supposed to know?”
“Did you eat it?”
Seriously? How could she think that I would eat an entire pie? Preposterous. “Of course not . . . how could I eat an entire pie?”
“You tell me,” she demanded.
“What makes you think I would eat an entire pie?”
Suddenly there was a pie plate with the remains of Buttermilk Pie in it. Small pieces of crust remained stuck to the pie pan with the last remaining smears of filling. My stomach rolled as the creature did cartwheels. “The fact that there is no pie left and you are laying on the couch with a very noisy stomach are my first clues.””
Hmmmm . . . The evidence was pretty damning. I had no recollection of eating a whole broken pie, but I did have many memories of having bites of a broken pie. The creature kicked me in the pancreas and I swallowed hard. The thought of Buttermilk Pie, or any type of food, seemed to make the creature angry. I did not want the creature to be angry anymore.
My wife looked down at me with a look that was part pity, part irritation and part disbelief. “Seriously? The whole pie?” she said. “No wonder your stomach hurts.” The creature was angry again.
She turned and walked into the kitchen muttering something about pies and common sense and somebody having something coming to him. I didn’t catch all of it, the creature was pulling on a lung at that point.
So I don’t mean to over eat. It’s kind of like when you decide you want a potato chip or a pretzel and you get out the bag. Then after a while you can see the bottom of the bag and you don’t know what happened to your chips or pretzels. Sometimes that happens. And sometimes it happens with pie.
Thanks for reading and sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. We’ll talk again soon on This Side of the Diaper.