Yesterday was my birthday so I gathered up a few new friends here in Terlingua and threw a little party. Instead of cake I made pie. And instead of champagne, my dad (who was brave enough to come visit in spite of my tarantula pictures) made his famous martinis. Pie and martinis. What a combo.
One friend suggested that I shouldn’t be making pie on my birthday. I should be doing something else, something relaxing, something fun. “But making pie is relaxing and fun,” I told her. “Making pie is exactly what I want to do on my birthday.”
Except that it wasn’t relaxing or fun baking pie in the middle of a Texas desert summer afternoon. The temperature in the kitchen was 100 degrees — and I’m not talking about the oven! When the dough kept sticking to the oil cloth as I tried to roll it, the butter and Crisco melting in spite of chilling it first (a step I usually skip to save time), I reminded myself (more like reprimanded) that pie was being made long before air conditioning and therefore I needed to respect my Pie-o-neer Foremothers who baked pie in wood burning ovens (in their un-air conditioned log cabins) for all those years before I came along. So I wiped the sweat from my brow and persevered.
The pies turned out fine — one strawberry and two banana creams. The party was a success — measured by the fact the guests were chanting “We want pie.” And seeing the empty plates at the end of the evening (after the happy pie eaters begged for seconds) was the best birthday present I could have asked for.
This morning, after having pie for breakfast, my dad commented, “This is one terrific pie.” (He was eating banana cream.) After a pause he added, “I’m a little disappointed I haven’t seen any tarantulas yet.”