My fondest memory of baking is the summer I spent with my grandparents and my grandma taught me to bake pies. I was forever hooked.
Grandma and Grandpa lived in a suburb of Pittsburgh right next to the train tracks. In the ’60s, there was a lot of train traffic, lots of soot and you could feel the rumble of the train long before you heard the roar of the train coming down the tracks. Their house was built into a hill so the kitchen looked over the backyard and the railroad tracks. I spent many hours sitting on the back porch watching for trains while my grandma cooked dinner. I just loved to spend time with my grandparents over the summer and that was where my love for baking and sewing began.
I can feel and smell my grandmother’s kitchen just like it was yesterday. The small steel-trimmed Formica table, her green gingham terry-cloth apron with the pear-shaped pockets, the flour that seemingly stuck to everything (especially after I helped bake). I can’t remember what kind of pie we made—I think it may have been cherry—but I remember the lessons I learned and the fact that she actually trusted little 7-year-old me to make my own crust for my tart-sized pie. I remember that everything was cold, the shortening, the water, the flour–and I was not to handle the dough too much. I remember rolling out the dough into a circle with her very heavy rolling pin which I use to this very day.
And I remember how she taught me to pinch the crust just so—so it would look like a rope! She even allowed me to put my pie in the over and take it out by myself. I remember that she told me that I was quite a baker and that my mom must have taken after my grandpa because my mom could not care less about baking!
I remember sitting down for dinner with my grandparents that evening, sharing that little tart-sized pie with them, and thinking that it was the best pie I had ever tasted.
It still is.
You can also find Beth at One Old Goat.
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