Sweet Memories of Sweet Potato Pie
Why I deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
It was going to be the best sweet potato pie ever. I was a young wife, married but a few months, and I wanted to please my new husband. Since I was somewhat of a novice when it came to culinary skills, I needed time, quiet, and mental energy to manage a recipe that had more than a few steps or ingredients. My day off from work would be well spent in the kitchen.
I was going to bake my husband the best sweet potato pie ever.
The recipe in question wasn’t too complicated, but it was somewhat time consuming. I hoped that the results yielded would be worth the effort. First I had to peel the sweet potatoes, boil them, mash them, and finally mix it together with all the other ingredients and bake it. I started the process early in the morning; we were going to have a sit-down lunch, something we couldn’t do the rest of the week because of our conflicting schedules, and believe it or not, I needed those few hours to make it happen.
Aside from my lack of experience in the kitchen, I had another issue: My kitchen was about the same size as our small bathroom. Literally. We had to take turns washing our hands since we couldn’t both fit in the kitchen at one time. There was almost zero counter space, so that I had to constantly juggle ingredients and small appliances in minimal space. For a newbie in the kitchen, the lack of space made it all the more difficult to master the art of cooking.
But none of that mattered. It was going to be a perfect lunch. What a special surprise my husband would be greeted with that day when he returned home! I was sure my sweet potato pie was going to become a favorite, perhaps even a family legacy, to be passed on throughout the generations.
A few hours later I could smell the delicious pie cooking in my little toaster oven (did I mention there was no room in the kitchen for a regular sized oven?). The moment my husband walked in the door he was greeted by the pleasant aroma of an unfamiliar dish.
“Wow, what smells so good?”
“Come and see for yourself,” I said proudly. I had left the pie in the toaster so it would have that fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven taste.
“Wow!” was all hubby could say as he peeked through the glass of the toaster oven. I smiled the sweet smile of victory. Just wait until he tastes it, I thought.
“Is this ready? Can I bring this to the table?” he asked, magnanimously.
I stepped out of the kitchen so he’d have room to get through the doorway, and sat down at the table. Husband took the pie out of the oven, stepped towards the table, and….. promptly dropped the sweet potato pie on the floor. Face down.
“Oh my gosh! Oh no!” my husband cried.
I ran to inspect the damage. The floor wasn’t so dirty, was it? After all, only my husband and I walked there. Maybe the pie was still salvageable (don’t tell!). Alas, it had broken into hundreds of pieces, mushed into the grooves between the tiles. Even I couldn’t contemplate salvaging it.
“I’m so sorry!” my husband cried out.
You know how in movies when you reach the climax of the plot, suddenly everything happens in slow motion? There’s always a moment that seems to stretch on forever, while the main character decides his next move. Well, that’s what happened to me at that moment. I felt as if time suddenly stopped. Was I going to be angry about all my hard work lost, or would I smile and forgive my husband for the biggest blunder ever? All the talk I had heard in marriage classes about being a loving, understanding wife was going through my mind. My poor sweet potato pie lost to my poor dear husband.
“It’s okay, don’t worry about it.” I smiled at my husband, confident I had made the correct decision.
“No, really I’m so, so sorry!”
“Really, don’t worry, it’s okay.”
“I can’t believe I did that!” Husband looked like he was about to cry. Wow, what a genuine paragon of virtue I married.
I softened my tone. “Dear, it’s forgotten already.” What a good wife I am, I thought.
Husband looked at me in the eye. “You don’t understand,” he said sadly. “I really wanted to eat that!”
Oh. So much for my paragon of virtue. He hadn’t even thought about all my hard work lost. His contrition was simply his stomach speaking. Sigh. Aren’t all men alike?
But here’s where the hero in me rose up.
“It’s okay dear, I’ll make you another one.” Did I just say that?
“Really, you will?”
“Yes.” Sigh. “Pass me the peeler.”
And so, the next few hours were spent cooking the second sweet potato pie for the day, and a family legend along with it.
If you don’t think I deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for that, I don’t know what does.