Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Gift of the Gellert

My friend MG, whom I lived with in London, came to visit this week.  Although I didn't actually cook for MG, we enjoyed a few culinary "adventures" during her stay.

Hours after her arrival, we ventured to Tria to dissolve a memory of a bad first date and utilize a frequent shopper card collecting dust.  We managed to add several wines, beers, and many dollars to our card, and had a great time catching up and taking notes for the future.

Once home, or maybe even the next day, MG and I were discussing said blog, and hanging around my tiny kitchen.  She glanced up and noticed my Pillsbury "The Complete Book of Baking" cookbook, and exclaimed, "My mother had that cookbook!  She always made the chocolate pecan pie!"  I pulled the book down from the shelf, which included the big metal canister of flour resting on top.  (MG was impressed with herself as she didn't flinch as this entire tower crossed over her head... as was I, to be honest.)

We quickly found the chocolate pecan pie recipe, and our mouth's watered as we started at the large glossy photo.  We critiqued the recipe, and MG added commentary about her mother's successful pies with store bought pie crusts.  I had just made the peach tart, so was thinking I should try the the real crust if I ever ventured to make the chocolate pecan.

"Do you even have a rolling pin?" MG so curiously asked.

"No. I've always thought about buying one. I looked at one yesterday..." I trailed off, thinking about all the odd wine bottles I have used over the years as a substitute rolling pin.  She didn't need to know.

This cookbook is the best thing that ever happened to me.  It was my second cookbook ever (the first was a Klutz Kids cookbook that came with plastic measuring spoons); and the only book, I swear, that my parents gave me with a transcription, "Merry Christmas, 1995." The best part about this baking book are all the photographs.  It took me years to actually attempt something that didn't have a picture.  But, everything, every single thing, I have attempted from this book has been a hit.

I remember making pumpkin cookies for a family holiday party that I couldn't force people to eat.  I deemed it a disaster but made my aunt take some home with her.  She called me the next day to report her kids ate them in the car and couldn't get enough.  I make them repeatedly now, and my frosting technique gets better and better each time. Always tasty.

And, this book doesn't steer me wrong. Wonderful chocolate chip cookie recipes, apple cobbler, banana breads, and who can remember all the other things I've made over the years....

"Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual"
But, when MG left today, she left my a little gift.  A nicely wrapped tube from, obviously, Williams Sonoma.  Inside, the most beautiful red rolling pin I've ever seen.  The only thing worthy enough will be the chocolate pecan pie, for you, as I think about your mother.

And MG, my dear... do you recall those mini-pizzas I made in London? Of course you do, I'm the one that forgets.  You asked where I learned to cook, and I didn't think I had an answer, or maybe I was thinking  it was rhetorical.  However, I found your answer.


Zoe said...

A wine bottle has always worked well for me BUT I'm intrigued by this red rolling pin!! What a lovely gift!

hellen said...

I have this same exact cookbook in my kitchen right now!!! And I still use it! And the little measuring spoons that came with it! My personal favorite was the hidden treasure muffins.