Confessions From The Other Side… of 50

Chemistry was not my best subject, I will admit. I am a creative problem-solver though, very practical and sometimes science-like. That’s as close as I get to that part of my brain.


cooking fail I am baking a pie crust for tomato pie. The store-bought kind you find in the refrigerator section. The one with lard in it. Let me say ahead of time, baking, along with chemistry, are not my strengths. If you ask my family, they will list off birthdays past where a lopsided cake was presented or the time when the flourless chocolate torte melted right into the oven. Following exact directions seems to be beyond my capabilities. I’m more of a little of this and a little of that plus a dash here or there kind of cook.

This pie crust is tricky. I’ve used it before and had the sides shrink halfway down the plate as it baked. I smile to myself. I’m not going to let this slab of dough best me this time. Since I don’t have pie weights, I improvise. I’m good at improvising. The ceramic pie plate is a large one. A light bulb in my head goes off. I have a smaller glass pie plate I know will fit right into the larger one and keep that crust in place. I got this. Ingenious, I think.

I decide not to bake the crust all the way through since it’s going to bake a little longer when the tomato pie ingredients get placed in there. The pie crust sandwiched between the two plates sits on top of the stove cooling while I mix up the basil, mayonnaise, cheese and garlic.

Okay, time to pop the glass pie plate out. Oh no, it seems stuck. No worries, I use a knife to dig in there and loosen it. Not budging. Okay…hmmm…I put it in the fridge. Tapping my fingers on the counter I wait for the chill to set in and surely the plate will easily pop out. This is science. Nope. This sucker is cemented in. Now I’m wondering about the kind of foods I ingest into my body.

In the middle of this,  I’m having a texting conversation with my VA. That’s a virtual assistant. It took me six months to figure out what VA meant. I was sure it had something to do with vagina. I asked my daughter and she had it in under three minutes. My VA is a super-duper baker, btw, and our conversation switches to my dilemma. She tells me to freeze it.

I do. I’m telling you, cemented together, I text back. I make the tomato pie without the crust. By now,  dinner is hours late. The pie is not the same. My Guy knows not to say a word. We eat in silence.

I’m going to freeze those plates until Kingdom come if I have to. That’s an old saying my mom used to say. It’s like until hell freezes over. My VA is texting, what is happening with the pie plates, she asks. She tells me to call the Bakers Hotline, which specializes in fantastic cooking fails. No way, I say. It would be too humiliating. She agrees it would be embarrassing but assures me surely there have to be worse situations. I’m not so sure. Someone will know I’m a science fail.

This only sets my resolve even more. I will figure this out. I’m prying these plates apart if it’s the last thing I do. By now I’m trying to accept that I may have to throw away my favorite pie plate, one of those special pottery kinds, because of the mallet I may take to it.
After a week in the freezer, I try again. Not budging. Not even a little. Feeling desperate now I run it under the hottest water I can. Then I soak it. Cemented. What the H —E—Double L is in this crust?? This is no longer a cooking fail but a test of will.

I refuse to give up. This is either a strength or a curse. I rarely, if ever, give up. There’s a story I have to share with you about that but not today. I refuse to believe this problem can’t be solved. Everything has a solution, right?

What haven’t I done? Bake it all the way through. I put the two plates sandwiched together by a pie crust back in the oven. I bake it extra-long.

Voila! The two plates easily come apart like nothing was ever holding them together in the first place. My VA texts, I have to know what is happening with the pie plates, she says. I am happy to report I finally figured it out and saved both of my pie plates.

How, she wants to know?

Why, pure science,  I say. And never, ever, ever give up.

What’s your most fantastic cooking fail? Come over to the Soulfire Woman Power group and ‘fess up.

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