the strange familiar of kitchen traditions

My mother does not cook. I like to make fun of her for it, which she graciously puts up with.

She does, however, make approximately 100 pecan pies every single Christmas. This is in no way an exaggeration. It started with just a few for family, a couple for friends at church, nothing big. Then she realized that it was cheaper to just make pies for my brother’s and my teachers at school instead of buying gifts, so she started making those, along with a few more for church people. And it’s just grown from there. It’s actually kind of terrifying.

My mom roped me into the pie-making a few years ago. To her credit, she has always called it exactly what it is: free labor. I can’t really say I blame her.

There’s a specific routine to our pie-making: newspapers on the counter, the same measuring cups and teaspoons, that one brown Pampered Chef thing that we melt butter in. I control the eggs, vanilla, salt, and butter, Mom does the Karo syrup, sugar, and pecans. Other than the occasional sliver of egg shell that wants to sneak in every now and then, it’s exactly the same, every time.

Making pies by myself here in Birmingham? Not the same at all.

Though the recipe is simple and I know the routine by heart, the weird part is cobbling together the various mixing bowls and measuring cups. I don’t have the same stiff spatula or the brown butter-melting bowl. I don’t have the large mixing bowl with the pour spout, and I definitely don’t have the expanse of counter space on which to spread out.

I mean, I definitely have perfectly acceptable substitutes for all these things (except the counter space, boo). But they’re not the same, you know? My pies still get made, they taste just the same, but it’s still different.

Not bad different. Just...weird different.

Eventually there will be routine in Birmingham. But until then, making pecan pies won’t feel right unless it’s back in Georgia with my mom.

Love ya, Mom ; )

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