(In which we research the magic of 3.14.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 22, 2011 02:09pm | Post a Comment

[insert terrifying caption here]

Unlike many, I look forward to Thanksgiving not because of what I get to eat, but what I get to cook. For this reason, I love to host the holiday. In a village like Los Angeles, it’s usually easy to find many lost little lambs who’ve no place to eat (and no ability to manage kitchens themselves). Honestly, it’s like flunking Home-Ec is a requirement to moving to the City of Angels; I guess Type-A personalities don’t have a lot of patience for braising.

Nothing makes me feel more like a magical wizard than when cooking-challenged people like my boyfriend watch me prep food. Am I roasting zucchini or casting a sleep spell on the whole kingdom? Because his reaction would be interchangeable in either event.

I learned to cook from my Mom; sometimes instruction was direct, but mostly I just hung around the kitchen while she cooked and made a nuisance of myself, learning by observation. I was hypnotized by corn starch and its ability to turn any liquid in to a thick sauce. Separating an egg seemed like a delicate and ancient Chinese dance, and gee whiz…! See what you can do when you whip those egg whites?

There were some causalities, from which I grew wiser. One sneaky bite of unsweetened chocolate taught me that some of life’s greatest pleasures can come from something so foul. I learned Tupperware cannot be used like a pot on the burners, and soon after I learned how hard it is to clean cooked and melted plastic off a grill. One of the few scars I have on my body is on the knuckle of my left thumb from the first time I learned how to use a peeler – I don’t remember what fruit I cut myself on, but I’ve always remembered how to hold the instruments securely since then. Oh! And I learned it doesn’t take very many bittersweet chocolate chips to destroy an appetite.

This year I’m going to be a guest for Thanksgiving, not a host. The good news is that I’ve been asked to supply the pies.

The rad things about pies is that they are both versatile – practically limitless in possibilities for artistic expression – while easy as… well, pie, to make. I will of course be offering a traditional pumpkin pie (I wouldn’t want to be tarred & feathered before I got my second helping of stuffing, after all); the question is, what else shall I make? I’m always eager to experiment – smoked salt and coconut pie anyone? – while also curious about old fashioned and especially out-of-fashion recipes. Vinegar Pie? It was once popular, but I defy you to find a Marie Callender’s that lists it on a menu.

I’m sorely tempted to make Shoofly Pie. If it sounds familiar it’s probably because you’re remembering it from childhood folk songs and schoolyard chants. It’s Pennsylvania Dutch in origin and still popular in the deep South, but I’ve never found anyone west of the Rockies who’s eaten it. It’s predominantly made of molasses and I’m intrigued by that, because molasses is an ingredient normally relegated to single tablespoons in much bigger batches of baked goodies.

I worry though, that the joy I find in tasting antiquated anythings will be lost on my peers. Not everyone appreciates the subtleties of Mayonnaise Cake simply because it has a history, and who can blame them when more current and delicious trends like Red Velvet Cake are available?

So the research goes on. I will make an Apple Rum Pie, I think. People love it, even though I personally think the texture of baked fruit is like so many sugar-sweetened garden slugs.

"This swell pie makes up for all the spanking and second-hand smoke I endure!"

What follows are some cuisine-related ditties I dig. Take a moment to savor them, won’t you? And if you have any old school pie recipes you’d care to share, effing bring ‘em.


The only true Power Pop is Iggy Pop. "Dog Food" available on his awesome album Soldier.
Do you like feeling great and being fun? The B-52's invented that.
This link will take you to my favorite comp of The Andrews Sisters. Above song included!
Thanksgiving without Dead Kennedys is like Christmas without Extreme Noise Terror.
Plus much, much, so much more available at any one of our three retail stores!

Relevant Tags

Pennsylvania Dutch (1), Shoofly Pie (1), Vinegar Pie (1), Recipes (9), Los Angeles (205), Pie (3), Holidays (96), Thanksgiving (21), Dessert (7), Amish (1), Mayonnaise Cake (1), Andrews Sisters (6), Dead Kennedys (9), Swing (5), Pop Vocals (19), Punk (71), Iggy Pop (14), The B-52's (3), New Wave (19)