Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hell, Thy Name is Pie

Two 4th of July’s ago, I almost blew my finger clean off. I am admittedly one of those judgmental people who say things like “What kind of inbred moron blows off his own hand with fireworks?” and yet I came inches away from subjecting myself to a lifetime of having to explain my inability to shoot a gun. That 4th I was in Indiana, the state of legal fireworks and 3 AM last calls. Fireworks are not only legal in Indiana, but they are embraced as a means of fundraising. My sister and I loaded up on fireworks at a tent sale that was operated by a local church in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

That afternoon we set off one of those chains of rapid-fire firecrackers. Afterwards, I found one in the yard the still hadn’t been detonated. I lit the thing, not realizing that those kinds of firecrackers have quick fuses. As soon as I tossed it, it exploded one foot from my face.

This year there were no almost-amputations. Some party pooper in the California government thought it best that thousands of square miles of dried vegetation wasn't exposed to flaming projectiles set off by drunk people. Instead, we celebrated with a cook-out and water balloon fight.

And then, this week, I decided to out-American myself and make an honest-to-goodness apple pie from scratch. See, I was involved in a pie baking contest at work, which meant that I got to try 14 pieces of pie over a 15 week period. Unfortunately, this also meant that I had to make a pie myself.

I had never made a pie before. After looking at the short list of ingredients, I decided to go with a simple caramel apple pie. Of course, I didn’t bother to read the actual recipe before starting. It was too long, a fact that a smarter person would have taken as a warning of the complexity of baking a caramel apple pie.

The first thing I noticed as I prepped all of my ingredients was that there were four steps to this thing. I had to make the crust. Then prepare the apples. Then make the caramel. Then get around to baking the damn thing. The second thing that I noticed was that I was home alone. I would be solely responsible for any type of explosion, electrocution, or food poisoning that may take place.

It took five hours to make the fucking thing. First of all, I didn’t realize that I had to peel every single apple. Then, I had to cook sugar and water until it caramelized. That took three attempts. I kept stirring the sugar, waiting for it to turn brown, you know, like caramel. Each time, the water would suddenly cook out of the mixture, leaving me with something resembling crack cocaine. By midnight, Camille was helping me roll out dough in our way-too-small-to-bake-a-mother-fucking-pie kitchen. The baking didn’t even go according to plan. After 50 minutes, the pie was barely hot. Maybe that had something to do with my head also being in the oven. Note: A 350 degree oven is not hot enough to bake a pie or to kill yourself.

After all was said and done, the half-cooked pie was set in the fridge at one in the morning. At this point I didn’t care. I had fulfilled my commitment to my job and to America. And
at least I hadn’t blown my finger off.


Kristy said...

I recommend that you stick to things that do not require preparation or ovens. You will be McDonald's best customer. They sell apple pie you know...

Anonymous said...

You do, of course, realize that not ALL of those "little firecracker" things were set off that year...some waited until this year!

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