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Pie Wars November 15, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Baptists, Fam Damily, Foodies, Holidays.

This Thanksgiving is going to be a little different than the last two.

The inlaws usually drive two hours north and spend the holiday with George’s elderly mother and because is something I’d wanted no part of, I made up a simple, don’t-want-to-hurt-their-feelings story that we were eating with some relatives of mine who live in Hilton Head, two hours south of here. Relatives I haven’t seen since our wedding, but whatever. We both felt bad about the lying aspect, but agreed spending a nice relaxing holiday at home with me making a whole big traditional (first year) and then sea food (last year) dinner for us was awesome. Until this happened, I’d never even cooked a whole turkey before – it had to be done (and Laura, that’s when I picked up the awesome cover-the-bird-in-bacon tip I will swear by until the end of time).

But George’s mom passed away a couple of months ago, so this year they’re having the meal at their house. I’m actually happy about it – cooking a ton of food and cleaning up afterwards is hard work and I’m excited to be relieved of the duty this year. Seriously relieved, since when I asked the MIL what I could bring to dinner, she politely and sort of hestintantly told me, “Oh, I don’t think you need to bring anything…I’ve already bought everything I need…I think I have it covered.”

I wasn’t surprised by this, even though there are somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen to twenty people coming to eat and you’d think maybe deligating a side dish or dessert or at the very least a couple of 2-litres of something to drink…but no, what am I saying – this is the land of swate tay (sweet tea for those of us who speak normally), after all. In fact, I might want to break out that handy flask we own to fill with Diet Coke now that I think about it.

I don’t know if it’s a Woman Thing, a Southern Woman Thing or just My Mother-in-law Thing, but she is VERY territorial when it comes to all things food. A few years ago when I told Brian she deliberately left a couple of ingredients out of her squash casserole recipe when I’d asked her for it, he laughed at me. He laughed not because he didn’t believe me, but because he could totally see her doing that. And I’ve since been proven right, having watched her make it over the years and see her add a pinch of this or that to it that she conveniently neglected to tell me. Hell, she admitted to giving a different recipe to the church cookbook; why would she give me the real one and risk giving up her secret?

More proof of the crazy:

– She LOOOVES the fact I can’t make homemade biscuits and/or gravy. Whenever she makes it, she lets something sort of catty slip out like, “Briine (Brian, but spelled phonetically like she says it) sure loves his momma’s ______ (insert biscuits, gravy, cole slaw, whatever in the blank)!”

– Whenever I’ve asked for a recipe of anything, she gives me her standard answer: “Oh, I don’t really follow a recipe for that; I don’t even usually measure the ingredients!” (Why is it then, in the other room behind the french doors there’s usually a cookbook open to the page that corresponds with the recipe we’re eating?) (I would never have the balls to ask.)

– Whenever she talks about one of her friend’s food, there’s always, ALWAYS a little insult thrown in there. “That Elsie sure is a nice lady, but boy her soup could’ve used a little more flavor! No wonder Ed stays so skinny all the time!” (George is pretty slender as well, but again – no balls, would never bring up.)

– I couldn’t think of anything, moreso than usual to get George for Christmas last year so I made him his favorite dessert, my first apple pie. I don’t personally like apple pie, but it looked so perfect when I took it out of the oven I actually snapped a picture of it – I’d even managed to do that lattice top of the pie crust thing and added little red cinnomon sugar sprinkles on top. I was proud of this pie. I brought it over when we spent the night there Christmas Eve and since she usually only makes appetizers to eat the night before the big day, suggested the pie for dessert. George loved it and he and Brian each ate two pieces over the course of the night. She had a weird look on her face the whole night and did not eat one bite of it, at least not in front of me. And she always has dessert.

So here’s what I’ve decided to do, in a little passive-aggressive move. I don’t like pumpkin or pecan pie, the staples of Thanksgiving dinner. But I do like dessert. So I have this recipe, an entire recipe with nothing left out of it, for a chocolate pie/dessert thing I’m making and bringing over there for Thanksgiving. I’m not telling her about it ahead of time, but instead just showing up with it and saying in my sweetest tone of voice, “Oh I just felt so bad about not bringing anything – I just threw this together really quick!”

It’s really a win-win, if you think about it. If no one else shows any interest in it, I still get to eat a dessert I like and Brian loves it too. And if someone else prefers chocolate over pumpkin and pecan, I get to see that weird look on her face again.



1. Swistle - November 15, 2009

I love this. And my MIL was the same way about food. She claimed never to follow a recipe—why, she didn’t even own a timer! And she would claim that ______ just LOVED her food (insert name of ANYONE IN THE WHOLE WORLD WHO EVER TASTED IT). Incidentally, Paul calls any food he doesn’t like “like my mom made.”

Kimmothy - November 16, 2009

It must be a MIL thing. Mine really is a great cook…as long as it’s southern food. Anything else would blow her mind.

2. iamheatherjo - November 15, 2009

One of the pumpkin pies I make…has chocolate in it. It’s a turtle punkin pie! Num. 🙂

My Nana was weird about her baking recipes and even if I read her chicken scratches…they made absolutely no sense to me. Not so much the cooking ones (but honestly, I’m a better cook that she was learning on my own anyway so…no big). My Mom rarely followed a recipe when she cooked and she didn’t really like to bake so I was pretty much on my own with the cooking junk.

I don’t know many/any mamas who want anyone else to be as good at taking care of their babies as they are. 😉

It’s a competitive thing. No one wants to be outdone.

Kimmothy - November 16, 2009

Very true. I just wish my MIL would realize I’m not trying to compete with her, just aspire!

3. Taoist Biker - November 15, 2009

OMG do you want us to give you the recipe for THE pie?

The rest just seems like something from Everybody Loves Raymond. My family isn’t like that, but I don’t have a hard time imagining Southern mothers behaving that way. Doesn’t take much of a leap of imagination.

Kimmothy - November 16, 2009

I have already copied down the recipe for THE pie! I’ve just not been brave enough to make it yet.

4. kdiddy - November 15, 2009

My grandmother and mom usually handle Thanksgiving dinner. My mom’s not a big baker and my grandmother has a bad hip so can’t navigate the kitchen very well, anymore, so they mentioned last year that they were just going to order a pumpkin pie. I volunteered to make it and it became A Thing. They asked me multiple times if I was SURE I wanted to do this, completely ignoring the fact that I’ve made many pies in my life. My pie was very yummy, by the way.

Kimmothy - November 16, 2009

I don’t get it…if I ever become that crazy over my cooking, I hope somebody sits me down and has a quiet talk with me.

5. crisitunity - November 16, 2009

Fight the good fight, babe! I’ll be thinking of you and the Pie Wars during my Turkey Day. Please tell us how it comes out.

6. blahblahblah - November 16, 2009

oooh sweetie. gravy is easy. really. I can help you. Or you could just spill it on her and then ask her to make some?

And mmmm. pie. ( drool homer simpson style out da side of ma mouth)

Kimmothy - November 17, 2009

Everyone says gravy is easy…am I retarded? Wait, don’t answer that.

7. Shari Sherman - November 17, 2009

Your MIL is like Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond, but she went so far as to switch labels on the spices so the recipe would be messed up. My MIL is the same weird way but not to that degree. I totally agree with bringing something….I mean, c’mon everyone is supposed to bring something, even if its just rolls! I hope your chocolate pie rocks!

Kimmothy - November 17, 2009

Hmm, Iris watches Raymond…coincidence?

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