Gang, this one will probably be a two parter. Part one will probably involve some laughs, a list, helpful tips, and some Star Wars jokes.
Part two will involve some simple recipes to make you look like a superstar during the holidays, and also make comfort foods when you are sad (I suggest making a pie any time you watch “The Last Jedi”) (see <<<<<<)
A little back story. My granny is 101. She doesn’t cook much any more, and sadly hasn’t baked since she was in her late 80’s. (she’s my granny, I miss her baking, but she doesn’t have the desire anymore…lazy). I would go visit, and she would brag about how my cousin Patti (name not changed to protect the guilty) was making her favorite pie, a peach. Now, over the years, Patti has become very domesticated, and has really improved her cooking skills. So I did not question that she made granny pies. She had 4 kids, I assumed she lined them up like a production line, and fired them out.
Until I went there one day, and the lid was still on the pie. Here, she was giving granny store bought pie. Now, my grandma doesn’t care, because lets face it, store bought pies are pretty delicious. Sometimes, I can buy a store bought pie for the cost of the ingredients it would take to make one. But I was appalled. This woman had cooked, baked, and pitched (she swears to this day her shoulder hurts from pitching to us). Appalled is a harsh word. I’m glad she was getting pie.
Now, my cousins and I have a friendly competition for who’s her favorite. (The five first cousins, the rest start at 6) So I took this opportunity to strengthen my #1 slot, and taught myself how to make a peach pie. I did, she loved it, and the rest is history.
Well, it really opened up an avalanche of requests. You know who likes pies…everyone. My buddy Jim loves Pecan Pies, he fixes lawn mowers, so he gets one each year, sometimes two.
My tattoo guys wife (Scott Kalina at Sunken Ship Tattoo in LaSalle IL) was having some medical issues, so I made her one. Since he has a partner at the shop, I felt guilty, so now he gets one too. (Adam Kamphaus at the same place) In fact, Adam says I am his favorite client, because he’s never tattooed me, but he always gets a pie or Xmas gift.
It got to the point, one year I made 42 pies, and average around 35 or so a holiday season. My friends know that some time between Thanksgiving, and Serbian Orthodox Christmas, they might get a pie.
Might you say? Well gang, it takes a lot of time and effort to make 42 pies. Over the years, even organized and stripped down, it takes two hours. I buy pie crusts. My granny loves them, made the best pie crust ever, so if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for anyone else. I do know how to make pie crust, but I have a small kitchen as well, so screw it.
I use can fillings usually. I have gone fresh a few times, and taken the time. Honestly, the can’s balance the flavors and sweetness well, so there is little sense in me making something, unless its an odd fruit I want to try, and can’t find the canned. Pineapple, Pear, etc…
To stay on the list is pretty simple though. Here are the most simple ways.
Either pay me to make you pies, or employ me…either way, you are guaranteed your pie/pies
Make me Kringlas…or any cookies.
Because I make pies, I don’t really bother with cookies. I have been making cupcakes though, and brownie cupcakes, because I like experimenting with the flavors, so there is that. Kringla’s are my favorite cookie. It’s called a pastry, but they are awesome. Honestly, not a heavy taste, picture a sugar cookie with a pastry texture, with less sugar. The are Scandinavian. My cousin’s wife makes them. You can buy them around here as well, but not near me, and I’m too lazy to drive 45 minutes for a cookie…though it is sounding like a good idea.
Repair small engines…
My buddy Jim makes me laugh every week, he’s insightful when it comes to politics, and he’s run for mayor and lost 4 times. And he fixes mowers, snow blowers, and whatever else, and you bring a guy like that a pecan pie, your stuff gets done pretty fast.
Tattoo me…Or at least be their partner.
Getting a tattoo is like therapy, and they put up with my nonstop jabber for 3 hours. I also try to take care of my old artist, because he gives me workout tips and encouragement, I try to make sure he eats crappy like me every few months. I eat crappy like me every day.
Be a nice person.
It doesn’t even have to be to me. Many times I have given pies to people who were just nice, and I knew them. They may not get one every year, but they get one sometimes.
I have a friend, and every year she askes me for a cherry pie. And every year, not only does she get a cherry pie, but I deliver it to her at work. She’s tiny, so I think she shares it with others, but who knows, maybe she drinks wine and eats the whole thing. If I’m not overwhelmed, I’m happy to hook you up.
Enough that I can get it to you, because I don’t know how to ship them. I know Overlord John and Ol’ Kentucky get by IL, so with a little pre planning, I can bring you pies.
One of the quirks I have, is with numbers. To make just 3 pies makes me itchy (I can fit 4 in my oven). It just doesn’t seem efficient to only make 3. Often, I will make a 4th pie, only needing 3, of a random extra filling I have, or a peach one if it’s been a bit for my granny.
As a person, I’d love to keep the pie for me, and eat it. As a diabetic, this rarely occurs. I have had slices at functions, and they are pretty good. Not granny good, but good.
So sometimes I have an extra, and I have yet to not find a home for it. It’s happened a few times, but who doesn’t want a free pie?
Small engine Jim and I have a mutual friend who works for the local paper. We have both somehow gotten in the special interest section of the papers, where they came to my house, took pictures, and wrote a nice article about me making pies. Jim got in because he …I’m not sure why actually…probably because he’s smart, interesting, and the funniest guy I know who has the best stories, but wouldn’t come on the podcast because he has a political career. Not a good one, but a career.
So remember gang, whenever you are at a loss to get someone a gift, make them a pie, or cookies, or cupcakes, or whatever. It shows you care enough not to fill their home with clutter, and they are worth a few hours of your time spent making them happy.
Go Forth and Bake