The Boy has been begging me to make him a pumpkin pie, and I’ve been busy/working/knitting/running the roads/sick/haven’t taken the time.
Since he’s a wonderfully well-behaved boy, he hasn’t driven me crazy, but I’ve seen the disappointment in his face each time I have said “later”. Tonight, I decided to just take the 5 minutes to whisk together oil and spices and pumpkin and eggs and sugar and make him his pie. The grin on his face when I told him it was in the oven repaid me for that time 20 times over!
If you’re noticing that things like flour and milk are missing from that ingredient list, there’s a reason. Milk? he’s allergic to dairy. I hate soymilk. So we compromise by mixing a little oil and a little water (yes, clichés aside, they DO mix, at least in a pie!). Flour? The Boy *hates* pie crust. I mean *hates* it. In that, he’s no different from any other kid I know, including me and his father when we were children.
Pumpkin pie is soooooo good, especially when it’s been chilled – the spicy sweet moist pie is one of the most delectable tastes ever. I can understand why someone would think a crust was a good idea, especially in the days pre-dating common utensils such as forks (really, nobody picks pie up in their fingers, right? At least not where anyone else can see them…) In this day of easy silverware access, though, I don’t see why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to spoil the taste of pumpkin pie by leaving a bit of dry, flavorless, flaky crust for the last few bites. Even if you break with tradition and eat your slice of pie from the crust down, you still have several mouthfuls of chewy crust before you get to the filling. Ick!!
And yet, every child I know has been told “eat your crust. It’s a waste of good food to not eat the crust. There are children starving in (insert country of your choice here, including the one you live in) and you HAVE to eat the crust!”
When I was a child, I suspected that the adults were saying this simply because it had been passed down to them. I’d watch them taking gulps of milk or coffee or tea to try to wash down the dry, tasteless crust, and I’d think “I bet if you weren’t setting a good example you wouldn’t eat the crust either!”
Now that I’m an adult, I know that it’s the case! I’ve seen one too many adults bury pie crust in the trash when they thought no one was looking to believe that anyone really likes the crust. Granted, there may be the rare one out there, and if so…good for you! (and I want the recipe.)
In our house, though, we’ve hit upon a novel idea – I make pumpkin pie *without the crust*. That’s right…NO crust! Starting from the day my son was two years old and took a bite of pie and his face lit up and he chowed his way through the pie until he got to the crust…and he took a bite…and disappointment swept over him and he shook his head and pushed it away. That’s when I made a choice – I could follow the path all my ancestors laid down (eat the crust! no waste! children starving etc etc!) – or I could make the choice that I wish someone had made for me, and give the child pie with no crust.
I know, I know…life is cruel at times. Life is unfair at times. Hard choices have to be made, sometimes we don’t get what we want and we just have to deal with it. I don’t wrap my child in cotton wool and coddle him and bend to his every whim. I’m his mom. His dad and I are his God-given authorities.
But every single thing in life doesn’t have to be a moral battle. Everything isn’t a life lesson. Sometimes, pie is just pie, and it’s ok to not make his favorite treat in the whole world be a lesson in “yes, life can be good, but there is bitter with the sweet.”
So around here, my child gets pumpkin pie without crust. And I choose to believe that him seeing his mom come up with a creative, taste-bud-honoring solution will be a life lesson that sticks with him much longer than a chewy, tasteless crust – and it will taste better, too!