So I’m having the World’s Fastest MS Relapse, and this weekend my choir is going on a retreat, including a pot luck dinner. I signed up to bring dessert. I’m the alto section leader, so when one of the other altos couldn’t make it, I signed up to bring her dessert, too.
Dessert for twenty. I am encumbered by some middle class brainwashing that does not allow me to buy two dozen doughnuts at the grocery store; I have to make the dessert.
Or maybe I can have a surrogate, the Baking Son, do it for me. No, the Baking Son is a teenager, and does not recognise that my request for three pies by Friday is a Desperate Cry for Help. He doesn’t have time to make pies for me, but he does have time to make bread for his Food Science class.
My husband would be happy to do it for me, but he does not do pie crust.
That’s ok, if I just space the work out enough, I can do it, right? Step 1, make crusts.
When I spooned the flour out of the bin (the big bin, the one that holds 15 pounds of flour, which, by the way, weighs almost 15 pounds!), it looked a little weird, but I figured it was the light. After I’d mixed the dough, it definitely looked green. My daughter tasted it, and pronounced it rye flour.
I started to cry, and hollered at the Baking Son, who admitted that, after making 3 monstrous cardomom breads, he refilled the big bin from “the bag on the floor”. Yup, rye flour. I got a chair, arranged all the flour bins in front of me, shovelled fifteen pounds of rye flour (minus the flour I wasted on my 5 pie crusts) into the rye flour bin (clearly marked “Rye Flour”), washed the white flour bin, threw away the pie crust dough, and went to bed.
The next evening I successfully mixed up some new pie crust and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
The following morning I got up half an hour early and rolled out three pie crusts, annoying my high school students who never have a minute to spare in the morning by making them fetch pans and flour and put crusts back into the freezer. For a woman who has trouble lifting 15 pounds of flour, rolling out those damn crusts was a lot of work.
Still to come: fillings. I figure I’ll make one apple, one pumpkin and one cherry pie, unless I can’t dragoon a child into peeling and slicing apples, in which case I’ll make two cherry pies, cherry pie pretty much involving opening a couple of cans.
Um, apparently I have something to teach you about Store-Bought Goodies and the Art of Being Thought Great at Dessert.
1. Any kind of high class chocolate makes people think you are kind and generous, not lazy. Any lower class chocolate, purchased in sufficient quantity, will produce an effect only slightly diminished, i.e. people will think you are rather kind and reasonably generous.
2. Albertsons sometimes makes these nifty little two-bit lemon tarts. Two squirts of Reddi-Whip (YES! REDDI-WHIP) and people think you are some kind of dessert genius because a) people actually prefer Their Very Own Desserts, because it supplies the illusion that there is no need to share, a tasty thought when it comes to desserts; b) a plate of these, with the whipped cream freshly applied, looks pretty darn yummy; and c) a plate of the nekkid little tarts with the can of Reddi-Whip sitting jauntily to one side allows audience participation, which creates virtuous feelings in two ways: 1) they helped, thus they do not feel guilty about whatever effort you made on their behalf (this applies only to dessert; I am not aware of any such willingness of the potluck consumer to participate in Baked Beans, Tossed Salad, or Garlic Bread where, indeed, I have heard people bang on if they have to do anything short of shoveling it up with a Tonka Toy Tractor) AND the little chore deludes them into the pleasant idea that they burned more calories “cooking” the dessert than they consumed in eating the dessert. Also, after you explain it, they will Love You More because they will realize that it is the kind of dessert that they, themselves, can attain.
3. Any big’ ol plastic thing-y of fruit salad (from the produce section; I do not play with knives when I am unwell) coupled with a few packs of Pepperidge Farm sweet baked things (especially the mini-cookies out now) make up the sweetest possible treat: self-deception. See, the brain thinks it is being fed a healthy dessert (some, even many, brains are kind of stupid and do not recognize the full flowering of oxymorony in the phrase “healthy dessert”) whilst the tongue licks the lips and says, “Yum! Yum!”, usually translated into Adult Dinner Party Speak as, “What a great idea! I’m so glad there was a healthy dessert!”
There’s something for moi (of course) in these efforts that a home-made extravganza simply does not provide; “cheating” on dessert gives me the delicious feeling that I’ve gotten away with something not really naughty, but almost. Call it un-just desserts. ;-)
For you, dah-ling, free. (My advice is worth EXACTLY what I charge for it… LOL)
Ohmigod, Patricia, can I come sit at your feet and learn from you? What do you charge for guru-ing?