I was feeling pretty smart last week when I decided to get a jump on Thanksgiving preparations. That was last week, and I wasn’t as smart as I thought. But this week, I really got smart. I learned from last week’s mistakes AND I used alliteration.
About those thanksgiving preparations – we are having our annual Thanksgiving feast with my husband’s side of the family which includes his mom and dad, his grandmother, 5 siblings and spouses/significant other and hundreds (okay, maybe it is just 20 or so, but it SEEMS like hundreds) of grandkids. It is no small thing to host this shindig, and technically it was “our turn” to host it this year. But I’m in an unreliable stage of life and likely to just go to bed at a moment’s notice. Fortunately for me, my gracious sister-in-law stepped in and volunteered to host it at her house.
So now my only responsibility is to supply pumpkin pies and cheesecakes. Homemade, of course. The Gaskins clan does NOT bring store-bought food to the Thankgiving feast. It just isn’t done. But cheesecake and pies are not too difficult. I’ve made them many times before. Shouldn’t be a problem. Easy-peasy. But this is me I’m talking about, and I’m unreliable, remember . . . . .
SO I was feeling anxious about getting the desserts done ahead of time. I mean I don’t LIKE being unreliable. And knowing I couldn’t rely on me to feel good enough to make the desserts the day before, I decided to prepare them ahead of time and freeze them. Sounds good, right?
In preparation last week, I baked 3 pumpkins, scraped the meat out, processed them, made up huge, vast quanties of pumpkin pie filling and made 3 pumpkin pies. I also had a delightful beef veggie soup simmering in the crockpot on the counter right next to my mixer with the pie filling. Life was good. Martha Stewart, herself couldn’t do any better on this day.
My 4 year-old girl loves helping me in the kitchen, so she was standing on a chair at the counter. She watched, waiting for her chance to help and lick whatever looks tasty. I was pretty busy moving around the kitchen, rolling out pie crusts, preheating the oven, putting away ingredients when . . . .
“It’s okay, Mama. It’s okay,” Rachel said somewhat anxiously.
“Hmmmm? Yeah, sweetie, it’s okay.” I was distracted and not really paying attention.
I walked over to the mixer to get the pumpkin filling. At the same time that I began to wonder what Rachel was anxious about, my eye caught the large spoon that I used to stir and sample the beef-veegie soup. It was laying on the counter right where I had left it, between the crockpot and the pumpkin-filled mixer. But something was not quite right. What was on the spoon? The red tomatoes and italian spices from the soup were clinging to the spoon, but there was also something else. Something kind of yellow-orange? What . . . . . .?
Then I knew. Rachel had used the beef-veggie coated spoon, the tomato-italian-worcestshire-flavored spoon to dip into the pumpkin pie filling for a little taste. Realizing too late that this might not be a good thing to do, she had anxiously tried to assure herself and me that it was alright.
Hmmmm. . . . . . .homemade pumpkin pie with a hint of beef-veggie soup? I didn’t think this would go over too well. But figuring that my batch of pumpkin filling was so huge that it would probably drown out any tinge of the tomato, worchestershire-y, rosemary flavoring, I decided to proceed with my pumpkin pie plans.
I baked 3 pies that evening — 2 to freeze for Thanksgiving and 1 for us to eat right away to “test” and make sure it was good.
It was good. Everything was good. I had my pumpkin pies done ahead of time. I was being a reliable gal.
Just as I was waiting for the pies to cool down enough to put them in the freezer, it occurred to me that I didn’t know if pumpkin pies would freeze and thaw well. Maybe they would thaw into a watery, weird-textured mess. And I wouldn’t know this until Thanksgiving Day. Then I would be back to being unreliable, because nobody could rely on me to show up with decent pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving.
Seeking reassurance, I did something I hate doing. I googled “freezing pumpkin pies.” I hate googling. Too many answers to one simple question, and my brain can’t process it.
And this is what I found out:
1. Don’t seek reassurance on google because you won’t find it.
2. Completely, diametrically opposed opinions on freezing pumpkin pies.
3. I still hate googling.
There was only one thing left to do.
“Mmmmmm. . . . . . .mmmm. . . . . . .this is so good, my eyes are rolling back up in my head. And there’s three?!!??!!? We get to eat THREE pumpkin pies, mama? Good thinking! We wouldn’t want to waste those pumpkin pies by freezing them, mama.”
I think Lincoln likes it too.
Oops, one more thing left to do — freeze all the left over pumpkin pie filling raw to be used later. Since I’m so much smarter now, I will just thaw the filling and bake fresh pumpkin pies early Thanksgiving morning.