Lessons Learned (Or, Piecing Together a Pie Crust)

by annecalista

Daily life in a new place is a good way to learn new ways to be. Fresh starts, a new perspective, hopefully incites new motivation to be patient, open-minded and kind. I am trying to teach myself the lessons I want to learn, how to be caring, how to be in community, and how to know what I need and desire. And on top of all of those things goes communication, how to express your intentions and your thoughts and your feelings.

Cooking and eating has been difficult for me recently. Not in any worrisome way, and to be clear I am very grateful to have never needed to worry about having enough food; about going hungry. But it is something that normally brings me great joy and calm. Lately its been difficult to enjoy. My life has been turned upside down, dumped all over the floor and shattered into a million pieces. I am trying to sort it all out and build something again. I am trying to get a solid footing.

In the past I have taken on too much when the holidays come around. I have tried to make elaborate and numerous desserts, trying so hard to please everyone. This year I made one pie, and it was enough. Our meal at my aunt and uncle’s house on Marrowstone Island was simple and decadent: homemade salmon chowder and a fresh salad topped with avocado and dressed simply with good olive oil. Dessert was my pear pie and another, pumpkin, plus freshly whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. It was perfect, it all made me so happy and so sad at the same time. Everything is different, and I am to blame. People have told me not to think of it as a mistake, but that is constantly on my mind.

Making this pie was good practice with patience, and finding new ways to do and see things. The beautiful fruit brought me joy to see in the afternoon light. I was not optimistic about my oatmeal crust (I ground up some oats in a food processor and used that for flour), it would not hold together but I patched it together in the pan and hoped for the best. The filling was watery, and I pictured a big sloppy mess as we tried to cut into it. It held together just fine, and was a delicious end to our Thanksgiving on the island. I am practicing experiencing joy.

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I used Grant Achatz’ recipe for pear pie, which can be found here.  Some changes that I made: using 6 pears instead of 8 (8 would have made  a mountain of pear slices!), switching the fat in the crust to 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and grinding up old-fashioned oats to use as the flour in the crust. I also omitted the top crust since the aforementioned bottom crust had to be patched together in the pan.

Happy holiday pie eating!