Mr.4444 and I didn't live in Wisconsin when we got married, so in the interest of convenience, we attended marriage prep classes at a Catholic church in tiny Hoopeston, Illinois. Their "report," I naively assumed, would be important in assuring that our own church would deem us marriage-worthy, and since we were living in sin at the time, I was a little worried. So, when I heard they were having a bake sale at an event, I decided to do a little butt-kissing by contributing a baked good.
Now remember, I was 26 years old at the time, and I didn't have a cooking blog. As a matter of fact, I had very little real cooking experience, but I did love to eat and figured that was all the prerequisite needed to bake the easiest pie I could think of, lemon meringue. No, I'd never made a pie before, but how hard could it be?
I went to the store and decided I wasn't ready to make my own crust from scratch, so I purchased Pillsbury ready-made pie crusts, as well as the other ingredients. Since the box included two crusts, I decided to make one pie for the church and keep one for us. (After all, we were hundreds of miles from home and our moms; homemade pie was not a frequent dessert in our house!)
I'd heard some people remark about how tricky making meringue was, so imagine my smug thoughts when I carefully placed my gorgeous masterpieces into the oven. After just 15 minutes, one could produce such gorgeousness? Wow! When I took the pies out, they looked exactly like this (and yes, I had even made those pretty, fancy edges!)
I skipped to the church with one of the pies for the bake sale and beamed with pride as the church volunteer thanked me and placed the $4 price tag on my offering. Assured that I had secured my place at the head of The Pearly Gates line, I headed home.
Later that night, Mr.4444 and I settled down to enjoy a piece of pie. I took my first bite, ready to learn what heaven tasted like.
Unless heaven tasted like glue, I knew immediately that there was a problem; the crust was sticky and gooey. I had no idea what I'd done wrong! I called my mother-in-law to troubleshoot the problem. Surely the crust had to be at fault; after all, I had followed the pie directions to the letter, pouring the sunshine-colored filling into the shell, whipping up the meringue to a perfect consistency, baking it the required 15 minutes.
"Fifteen minutes? Did you bake the pie shell before adding the filling and topping?"
"You have to bake the pie crust first?!"
CRAP! That meant some poor church supporter paid $4 for a pie made with raw pie crust!
There went my place in line...
Fortunately, I had been naive to assume that the church would give a care in the world to "reporting" our marriage worthiness to our church at home (they were just content to get paid for the marriage prep class.) Thank goodness we moved soon after getting married, and I never had to face anyone at that church again.
Of course, I've learned a lot about cooking since our Hoopeston days. Trust me, you really can't go wrong with any of my recipes on Mrs.4444 Cooks (provided you read all of the directions!)