Pie with Anna

December 2, 2011

I made cookies earlier this week. With the Kitchen Aid it only took a few minutes, but the results were great.   If  you haven’t tried it, put a couple of cups of pretzels into your favorite chocolate chip recipe.  It adds a whole new twist (Get it?  Twist.  Really, you should break up the pretzels first so that kind of takes the twists out of it.)  Sweet-and-salty always works for me.  I suppose I could use pretzel m&ms, but I like bitter chocolate better.

As I was making cookies, Diane was waiting patiently with cocoa mug in hand, as the temperature dropped.  She would have helped, but with cookies another person in the room is just inviting disaster.

Pie on the other hand is kind of fun with an extra hand.  Or two.  Cookies only take five minutes of prep time, no matter how slow you work.  With pie the prep time can be a half an hour or more.  So, several months ago when Anna asked to learn how to make a pie, I said yes.  And over the past weekend we had the joy of a visit, and Saturday evening I taught Anna how to make a great apple pie.  (Just a side note, Anna didn’t write anything down, but recited the recipe back to me word-for-word on the way home from church Sunday.  She now no longer has “I forgot” as a legitimate excuse for anything.)

Back to the recipe (you can pronounce that res-e-Pi).   Other than the fact that my pie is better than yours, there is nothing special about the recipe, so I won’t go into the details.  But it was kind of interesting teaching someone else.  I have made so many pies (Once I made fourteen in one day.)  that it is no longer necessary to look at a card or a book to know what comes next.  But teaching requires that I do it in the right order and explain what and why what happens next, and that adds an interesting twist.

I can peel and slice way faster than Anna, but not any more precisely, and with group pie making neither precision nor speed is what counts.  It’s all about the relationship.  A small kitchen can be a prison cell if you are working with a grump. (Just ask Diane)  But with a good teacher and a great student, a small kitchen is hardly noticeable.

I rarely use measuring spoons, and only “sort of” use measuring cups, but that is because, after a hundred pies I can tell how much is the right amount, I have a practiced eye.  However, if you are teaching someone, precision trumps practice.  “About” three cups of flour can quickly become paste, and it the instructor who looks flakey, not the pie crust.

What makes my pies stand out (if I may be so bold as to even think that thought, let alone say it publicly, but it is true.) is that I deviate a lot when it comes to the filling.  I wont go into details because I am thinking about marketing my pies, but I did share these details with Anna (and forgot to have her sign a confidentiality agreement) and she remembered the details precisely, which makes a very high (tall) juicy pie.  The details make the difference.

Pie with Anna is like cookies with pretzels.  Something good just got better.  If you can add relationships to any recipe it will be better.  If you can add relationship to any task, any job, any game, any anything, it will be better.

Now this particular pie was better because it was with Anna, someone I have loved almost her entire life.  She and her family have been a big part of our life through the ups, the downs and the back ups of the past eleven years.  That’s 75% of her life.  She is a great student of pie and of people.

But you can hardly make a pie with someone and not like them a lot more by the time you are done.  So whatever it is you have planned for the next few thousand years, be sure to do it with somebody.

That’s probably why Jesus is so appealing.  He takes the very best God has to offer, and adds relationship to the equation. What’s not to love about that.

Thanks for your help Anna.  The pie I may forget, the making of the pie, never.

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