Posted: November 18, 2011 | Author: pinkunderbelly | Filed under: food | Tags: derby pie, guest posts, homemade pie, Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, memories of mom |
At the risk of appearing to be more than a little bit pie-obsessed, I give you this:
It’s Pie Day at the middle school, a tradition in which parents send pies for the teachers the Friday before Thanksgiving . It’s a small but sweet way of showing our thanks to the teachers for everything they do for our kids. Thanks to my get-‘er-done friend Amy Pace, I’m now a proud contributor to Pie Day. Two of these beauties are going to school, and the other two are going to friends: one who is recovering from surgery, and one who makes me hit it hard at the gym. There is something deliciously ironic about taking a homemade Derby pie–chock full of sugar, butter, eggs, nuts, chocolate chips and whisky–to my trainer at the gym.
As I might have mentioned before, I love pie. I don’t eat it nearly as often as I should considering the flood of good memories it gives me of my mom and her superstar pie-baking skills. I’m happy to pass that good feeling on to my friends and my kid’s teachers today. Pie for everyone!
Posted: May 12, 2011 | Author: pinkunderbelly | Filed under: breast cancer, food | Tags: Antibiotics, cancer battle, coconut cream pie, heavy metal, homemade pie, Justin Bieber, loss, Miley Cyrus, missing mom, pigs, post-mastectomy infection, slope-intercept formula, survivor, tattoos |
I know I teased you yesterday by mentioning the new, custom logo for this little blog but not unveiling it until now. I’d say I’m sorry but it would be insincere. There are so few things over which I have control on this “cancer journey,” so when I can control something, like the timing of an unveiling, I will do it and do it unabashedly.
But now, without further ado, I give you the official logo of The Pink Underbelly.
There’s a lot of meaning contained in this little piggy. It’s a visual representation of the long & winding road that is my “cancer journey.”
The pig carries weight because it’s pink, the international visual cue of breast cancer. But more importantly, because pigs are very popular and prevalent animals in our house. Macy has loved pigs since a very young age and has fueled that love affair for all of her 9 years. Most little girls love horses or kittens or teddy bears, but my independent-thinking, devil-may-care girl marches to her own beat (usually loud and heavy-metalish. No Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus for her). Her love of pigs is so all-encompassing that several friends of mine have presented her with pig trinkets, from pens to tiny flashlights to coffee mugs, that they’ve seen out & about while doing their daily work or running errands, and when they see a pig, they think of Macy. Love that.
David, my art consultant for this little blog, put a lot of thought into the pig’s tattoos. Since he did the heavy lifting, he should get to explain it:
“The angel wings are for Barb (cuz I believe in them), but I also added a MOM heart (cuz you don’t). The USDA bacteria free logo is to celebrate your being taken off antibiotics. The breast cancer awareness ribbon is frayed on the ends to represent your struggle. The barbed wire (also a Barb reference) is just to be a bad-ass. The slope-intercept formula, I added for sentimental reasons.”
Editor’s note: Barb is my mom’s name, and David knew her before cancer snatched her away from us and so callously extinguished the bright light that she was. Anyone who knew her loved her, and David is no exception. That he chose to honor her makes my sad heart smile a little, because it’s just so stinkin’ unfair that she’s not here with me, especially now that I’m in the winner’s circle after the brutal battle that was Nancy vs. Breast Cancer, and then because one brutal battle wasn’t enough, Nancy vs. Mycobacterium. One thing my sweet mama loved was a party, and being the consummate hostess-with-the-mostess, I think she would have thrown me one hell of a victory party, with enough homemade coconut cream pie for everyone.
Because I’m feeling generous, and because my mama would want it this way, I’ll share her coconut cream pie recipe. If you want it, let me know. If you can figure out how to make her crust taste like she did, definitely let me know, and I will be at your house with a fork. If you need help with the slope-intercept formula, talk to David. I had a lot of trouble with that one, back in the day.
Posted: January 19, 2011 | Author: pinkunderbelly | Filed under: breast cancer, food | Tags: breast cancer, cake, cherry pie, coconut cream pie, cookbook, cupcakes, dessert, food trend, homemade pie, pie, pie crust, recovery |
So the latest food trend is (drumroll please). . . pie.
There’s a lady in Houston named Bella-Katherine Curtis who believes that nothing says love quite like a pie. The smell of a peach pie hot from the oven, made by mom’s or grandma’s hands, is a little slice of heaven, she said.
“There’s a joy knowing that someone made it just for you; someone loved you enough to make it,” said Curtis, owner of My Dee Dee’s Pie Shoppe. “It’s special. That’s what pies do. Cake is good but there’s something very special about pies.”
She’s right. And it’s about time pies got their day in the spotlight. Any monkey can make a cake from a mix and slap some canned frosting on it, but a homemade pie is special. Yes, you certainly can buy a crust and dump a can of gelatinous filling in it and call it done, but that’s not a real pie.
I grew up on homemade pie, and anyone who’s read this blog has heard me wax poetic about how great my mom’s pies were. Her coconut cream pie is the ultimate comfort food for me. Good day? Have some CC pie. Bad day? A piece of CC pie will make it better. Promotion? You earned a piece of CC pie. Car wreck? CC pie will help.
Barb’s coconut cream pie was the real deal. Homemade crust (duh), made with flour, crisco, salt, and ice water. That woman could whip up and roll out a delicious pie crust faster than I could find the recipe in my cookbook.
The edges were always perfectly fluted, too. She said it was simple: just pinch the edge of the crust between your forefinger and thumb and presto! perfectly fluted.
I have perfectly good thumbs & forefingers, and I can certainly pinch crust between them, but mine never, ever looked like hers.
She made a lot of pies. Anytime she hosted a dinner party (which was often), the dessert would be pie. Anytime she went to a potluck, she’d bring a pie. Usually two. Any family gathering featured, you guessed it, Barb’s pie.
She gave me several pie-making lessons, and I did not excel. She would tell me to handle the dough lightly; too much or too firm and the crust wouldn’t be light & flaky. Frankly, I’d settle for light or flaky, without aspiring to both.
In her absence, I have tried to take over the pie-making. While I wouldn’t say it’s been an epic fail, it’s not been overwhelmingly successful, either. One Christmas Eve I attempted the old standard cherry pie. The crust was fussy that day, and the filling overflowed in the oven, so the finished product looked as if I’d dropped it from a tall building. If I hadn’t been so busy crying and cussing, I would have taken a picture, which I could then post here so everyone could laugh at me and that pitiful pie.
Curtis opened her pie shop in October 1992, rolling out 29 pies on her first day in business. Guess what? she sold them all. Today she’s known as “The Pie Lady.” My mom is smiling about that right now.
Anyone who knows anything about pie knows it’s all about the crust. Curtis says that crust is literally the pie’s foundation. Good pie bakers know that without a good crust, pie is a waste of calories.
“When you bake a pie you have to make a crust and take care of it,” said Curtis whose crust is her mother’s recipe. “Then, of course, you have a filling. There are many steps to pie, and it can make a big mess in the kitchen. It’s a lot more challenging than making a cake. It takes more work. But it’s worth it. A pie says more.”
She’s right. A pie does say more. It says, eat me now!!
But Curtis worries that old-fashioned pie baking might become a lost art. “In another generation it might be totally lost,” she said. “There are so few people out there who make scratch pies.”
I’m trying, Ms. Curtis, I’m trying.
Read about how much better she is than I at making pies here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/food/7386674.html