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Life With Livingston Dental
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The Almost-Botched Pumpkin Pie
A Disaster Diverted
“You don’t follow the directions on the can. You need to use three-quarters of a cup of brown sugar!” Jeanelle said. I’d almost forgotten the most important ingredient. Without that molasses from the brown sugar, you don’t get the deep, caramel flavor that everyone loves in Jeanelle’s pies. It was an important adaptation to the recipe that Jeanelle’s mother had passed on to Jeanelle, and I’d almost forgotten it! I almost botched the whole pie. I learned an important lesson that day that is key to our family’s happiness. Of course, the holiday isn’t only about food. We have a tradition where we sit around the Thanksgiving table and share one physical and one nonphysical blessing we have in our lives. It’s a chance to reflect on the last year. Afterward, we play board games together — Clue is a favorite, as are Rook and Settlers of Catan. We avoid Monopoly since we don’t play that one so well together. Over the weekend, we get outside to admire the colorful leaves and sometimes shoot clay pigeons. Some of my favorite memories are of those Thanksgiving holidays, both here in the U.S. and in Canada. As long as I don’t forget the brown sugar, I know we’ll have a great day.
grandkid time was evenly shared among our in-laws. We’d celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. and Christmas in Canada, then switch places each year. It was fun to have everyone at home when it was our year to host. We’d take orders for pies from everyone. Pumpkin pie was always the winner, followed by lemon meringue, then apple. It’s no wonder the orders were always so big, because Jeanelle’s pies put Marie Callender’s to shame. I usually help Jeanelle with Thanksgiving dinner, but pie-making is her area of expertise. One particular Thanksgiving, about 12 years ago, I got up early and thought I would help out with some of the meal preparation. I got the turkeys in the oven and looked for what I could
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. My childhood memories of it unite two different countries and my life before and after marriage. Growing up, I enjoyed Thanksgiving in Canada with my family, albeit a month earlier than we celebrate it here in the U.S. Canadian Thanksgiving is always on a Monday and falls earlier in the year because of the shorter growing season there. You plant crops later and harvest them earlier compared to a climate south of the border. Other than the date, we had similar Thanksgiving traditions to what we practice in the U.S. — we ate turkey, gravy, and pumpkin pie. I enjoyed stuffing, but I detested cranberries when I was growing up. I still can’t eat a piece of turkey with cranberry. After Jeanelle and I got married, we would alternate the holidays with our families. When we had kids, this ensured that
do next. “How can I help?” I asked Jeanelle. “Why don’t you make the pumpkin pie mix?” she suggested.
I’d never done it before, but the recipe was straightforward enough. How hard could it be? I mixed in the cinnamon and other spices and added the eggs and evaporated milk. “I’ve got this,” I said, or so I thought. I was measuring out a cup and a half of white sugar when Jeanelle happened to look over.
“What are you doing?” she said.
“I’m following the directions,” I replied.
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