Pie in the sky

“Have you seen a pie anywhere? I can’t find the pie.

The pie? What pie? I did not bake a pie. I did not buy a pie.  We had one-half of a leftover lemon meringue on the counter. This was some other pie that arrived from some other place for some unknown reason and then was lost. No further information offered and none sought.

Through my haze of cold meds and cough syrup and fever, my husband could have been asking me anything: Have you seen a bag of ball bearings floating over the house? Any polka-dotted elephants curled up under the bed lat night? Thoughts inside my head did not make it out of my mouth with any coordination of words and logic. Likewise, statements floating on the current filtered through my brain as nonsensical fragments.

“Have you found that pie yet?”

Twice in the last week I ventured out of my house. Once to go to the doctor’s office and pharmacy. A second time to Target to get “something or other.” Really, it was a test to see if I could be upright and among the living. After 30 minutes I felt the pinpricks in my chest and watched as the buzzing haze descended upon my head. Time to go home.

On the way home, roaring down the expressway at 70 mph, I round a curve and see in my mirror a brownish-yellowish disc rise up in my wake. The object soars above the traffic before it plummets to the pavement in a spray of dough and goop. A plastic container bounces and rolls along the shoulder

What the ….?

It looked like a pizza! Some asshole put a pizza on my car. What kind of jerk would put a pizza on a car? No, wait. That’s weird. Not a pizza. Hmm, what did I buy at Target? Nothing large or round or goopy.   Hey, wait a minute ….

I grab my cell phone and punch in my husband’s number.  “Honey?”

“Yes?” my husband replies slowly, taking a cue from the rarely used endearment.

“Were you looking for a pie recently?”

“Yeah, did you find it?”

“I think so.”

“Where was it?”

“It was on the roof of my freakin’ car! And now, it’s all over the expressway. Oh, my god. What if it had landed on someone’s windshield? A pie! I’ve been driving around for days with a pie on my car. Oh, great. I went to the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, I pumped gas. No one said to me: ‘Hey lady, you got a pie on your car’. No one. What the hell! How does your pie end up on top of my car?”

We think about this together. How does a sweet potato pie go from a loving grandmother’s hands to a car roof? It has something to do with multi-tasking and impatient 5-year-olds and probably a sick, drug-induced wife who did not go to the family Christmas party. It has to do with short-term memory and distraction.

And there it is. For three days this pie rested uncut, uneaten, and unappreciated. It must have jostled about quite a bit up there, while held in check by the roof-rack rails. Or maybe it was frozen to the metal. All we know is that it was no match for 70 mph.

May your new year be free of projectiles.

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Why I'm mostly a vegetarian, Part 2

Photo by MZ

Take your pick: Thumper or Rocky.
I came upon this while thumbing through a cookbook at my mother’s house. The brittle, crumbling volume held together by rubber bands and tape was a wedding gift.
She was married in 1963.
Indeed, judging by the recipes for Swedish meatballs, Waldorf salad and beef Stroganoff and the overuse of gelatin and aspic, it was pre-Womens’ Lib. The suggestion seemed to be that women spent their days hosting card parties, luncheons and preparing the family dinner.

Even more entertaining than the recipes are the illustrations. The book opens with the picture of a trim bride with a tidy flipped bob wearing a starched apron tied at her narrow waist. Her wan smile is probably the result of a mixture of Valium and a bridge club cocktail. She balances a serving platter and gazes into the distance somewhere off camera. Is she watching the frolicking squirrels in the back yard, deciding how best to trap them? Is she wondering if little Susie’s pet rabbit would be missed? Is she debating if potato or rice best accompanies breaded rodent meat? Does she need to add a Jello-O mold to the menu or would pudding suffice for dessert?

I asked my mother if she’d ever cooked squirrel for us and then lied and said it was chicken.
She gave me one of those looks. It’s the look I always get when I ask probing questions about the past.
Speaking of recipes, check out these bloggers, who do a much better job making fun of old recipes and advertising images from bygone eras. They have quite the collection.