Friday, October 17, 2008

Mom's Apple Pie is Best

My mom makes the best apple pie in the world. She taught me how to make apple pie, and now my family, including my mom, thinks I make the best apple pie. My mom’s is still my favourite.

We were invited to share Thanksgiving with several Canadian families currently living in and around Managua. Longing for a taste of his favourite apple pie, John urged me to offer to bring pies to the dinner. Sure, if I was at home in my own kitchen that would be no problem at all. But we had just moved into a guesthouse in Managua. I had five days to figure it how to make it happen.

John had scanned some of our favourite recipes before we left Canada. Unfortunately we hadn’t checked the quality of the pdf before leaving home, so we discovered that my trusted pie crust recipe was illegible. I searched through a few on-line recipes and that helped me piece together the missing measurements for my recipe.

- Recipe, check.
- Ingredients … what is the Spanish word for “lard”? A quick call to my friend Nancy. She would meet me tomorrow at her daughter’s soccer game and bring me some lard. Thank you, Nancy!
- Kitchen … “Puedo cocinar una tarta aqui?” (Can I make a pie here?) Our gracious host, Leyda, said I could use her kitchen and any of the staple ingredients that she had.
- Pie Plates … Leyda had two round metal cake pans. That will do.
- Apples … John was eager to explore our new hometown, so he ventured off to a central market in a taxi. He didn’t find any apples at the market, but he stumbled across a supermarket that sold expensive apples from Chile. Not exactly local produce, but Chile is a lot closer to Nicaragua than Canada.

I don’t know how many times I’ve made pie, the number isn’t really important, yet every time I am amazed it actually works. How is it that flour, butter, a bit of lard and freezing cold water combines to make something so tasty?

Danielle was eager to help out. I imagine one day she’ll be making the best apple pie in the family.

When it came time to bake the pies, Leyda discovered that her oven was not working. We had to go next door and use the neighbour’s oven. It only had 1 – 5 as temperature options. I guess 425oF would be somewhere around the 4. We came back after half an hour to take off the tin foil that I’d wrapped around the edges to protect the crust. I was very relieved to find the pies baking nicely. We came back after another 15 minutes. Panic struck when I first walked into the kitchen because I caught a whiff of something burning. Fortunately it was only a small portion of the crust on one pie. The other was golden brown. Unfortunately, they were both bubbling over a bit and making a mess on the bottom of the neighbour’s over. “Lo siento!” (I’m sorry).
Leyda tucked them carefully into her fridge and they stayed there until we gathered to share a very delicious, traditional Thanksgiving meal “with all the fixings”.

And, yes, they did taste good.

As we were sharing what we were thankful for this Thanksgiving, running through my head were thoughts of all the people and circumstances that had come together so that I could offer two humble apple pies to our celebrations. Thank you, God, for blessing me with such a generous and welcoming community and thank you for my mom!

1 comment:

  1. Pam,

    What a sweet and touching story you wrote. It brought tears to my eyes and made me realize how far away you guys are and at the same time it makes me realize how greatful I am that you have the opportunity to make this trip! My story is the same if you replace applepie fro chickensoup! Just love my moms..........
    Anyways........We had a Canadian Thanksgiving here too, Not a whole Turkey, but turkey breast. With loved ones around you it does not really matter what you are having for dinner, right?
    Take care of each other and yourself!
    Love, Debby