I was up almost all night baking and cooking so my part of Thanksgiving dinner today was ready without having to rush. I finished the corn chowder my brother made me promise half a dozen times I was going to make, then followed it with a granny smith apple pie that my mom wanted, the recipe found during my pie obsession last year by combining a vodka-based pie crust with an apple filling smothered in a brown sugar, white sugar, and butter mixture that then gets baked at varying temperatures. When the pie cools, it continues to cook for several more hours due to the internal temperature being kept by the thick, gooey goodness.
This granny smith apple pie was the first time I had an opportunity to use the family’s new pie board. It was given to us at my in-law’s Thanksgiving last Saturday. It belonged to my late grandmother-in-law’s mother, who lived in the 1800’s and passed away 40 years ago in the 1970’s (my late grandmother-in-law herself was born in 1914 and died two years ago at 96 years old). No one knows the exact date, but it’s at least a century old.
It was interesting to think about how many changes the world has gone through during the life of this pie board, which has been used to make food down the family line for generations. It’s been around for women gaining the right to vote, electricity and running water being installed in homes, one (possibly two) Presidential assassinations, the Great Depression, the rise and fall of Hitler, desegregation, the moon landing, the adding of several states to the union, the invention of the personal computer, the creation of the Internet, the first commercial television, washers and dryers becoming standard appliances, the Coca-Cola IPO in 1919, Charles Lindbergh making the first trans-Atlantic flight, the founding of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Federal Reserve, a change in the constitution allowing people to vote directly on the election of U.S. Senators instead of the state legislature being able to make the choice, the sinking of the Titanic, and the first showing of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie. During its time on Earth, the average American family has enjoyed a 700% real (net of inflation) increase in their standard of living.
Maybe one day I’ll post a walkthrough of the entire recipe. In the meantime, the pie filling (not dough) is based on this extraordinarily highly rated apple pie so you should play around with it if you enjoy baking. Personally, I use the Emile Henry artisan pie dish for these deeper pies as I’ve found they do a very good job. They come in several colors.
I wonder how much of my own stuff will end up passed down like this. It’s funny how attached to it we’ve already grown. Almost every single recipe we make at some point involves the professional line from Mauviel that are used in many of the world’s best restaurants (though those won’t make it that long because at some point, 50 years from now, the stainless steel interior might begin to wear off and there is no process in place at the moment to replace it). I get so much joy from looking at a recipe and going over to grab the exact tool I need in that moment; no other pot, pan, or skillet will do. I have a favorite pot for making jams or frying vegetables. I know the roasted chicken with white wine, rosemary, and garlic gets made in a certain Ruffoni pot. It’s like reaching for old friends. I understand why cooks and craftsmen alike talk the way they do about their tools.
The turkey is prepared and in the oven. Everyone who is cooking will arrive shortly, as well, to begin the handmade egg noodles. There are southern-style wilted green beans on the stove, being cooked down with a touch of bacon. I love Thanksgiving.