Monday, October 11, 2010

Does Jesus Like Baked Goods?

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!)


  1. Oh boy, that sounds like something I would have done in my 20s too.

    And I love a good lemon meringue pie :-)

    Cheers, jj

  2. I have to honestly admit here that I would have assumed that a pre-bought pie crust would be cooked already. lol

    It is probably a good thing I read this just in case I ever decide to try pie making.

  3. hahaha--you will like this one. My first attempt to bake chocolate chip cookies by myself. I was maybe ten or eleven at the time and the recipe called for egg whites. To me the only thing white on that egg was the shell so yep, it went into the mixture and I beat and beat the crap out of that dough trying to break up all the egg whites. I finally called my grandmother who lived down the street to ask her what I had done wrong. She laughed so hard she wet herself. But I learned that egg whites and shells are not the same. True story!

  4. I'm positive I'd still make a mistake like that, but dang...your meringue top was gorgeous!

  5. Onreeone-Your story is PRICELESS! I love it!

  6. That's a funny story. Saturday Mia made brownies by herself. She hasn't learned fractions yet so she read 1/4c oil as 4 one cups of oil.

    We couldn't even pretend they were delicious.
    Poor thing.

    the post title cracks me up

  7. That's a hoot! My first "dinner company" was going to be treated to pasties. Can you imagine the heartbreak in that attempt? I was living in Virginia and had never made pie crust. I ended up crying and throwing dough at the wall.

    And I am not a crier or a pitcher. We must have taken them out to eat, or called and asked them to pick up a pizza on the way over. Though in the 60's fast food joints weren't as available as they are now.

    I'll bet the people who purchased your pie are still telling stories about it, too. LOL

  8. Somebody out there is is tellin' a 'member when we bought that beautiful lemon meringue pie' story. Heeehehehe....this was great!

    In High School I was in charge of baking and decorating the cakes each year for the Mother Daughter Banquet. This was right after the school had bought a self-cleaning oven. Ya see this comin' don't you? Yep, the oven was accidentally set of self-clean for one batch of the cakes. Oh baby, ashes to ashes and dust to dust!

    Loved your 'glue pie' story!

    Have the best week sweetie :o)

  9. Lol!I probably would have done the same back in the day! You have come a long way baby!

  10. At least you mastered the filling and meringue! If the crust was the only problem then I would have eaten around it. Hubby is clamoring for lemon meringue so I guess I'm going to have to break down and make it some time.

  11. Great story!! I bet we all have a similar one and a bake sale/place we have hidden from since!!

  12. I was trying to raise a my grade in a class once and baked bread for the professor. Unfortunately, I left out the salt. Let's just say bread evidently needs its salt. Okay? I did get an A in the class, though.

  13. That was a good lesson though wasn't it, and then you made great pies from then on I bet.

  14. That is hilarious! At least you only charged $4 for it!

  15. Hilarious! I've had some doozies in the kitchen so I can completely relate. My favorite being the first time (last year) that I ever had to handle a raw turkey. Lord, it still haunts me to this day!

    Loved your story...and I believe it's the thought that counts so surely you haven't been tossed out of line for such a minor detail like cooking the crust! :)

    You always make me smile.

  16. Lemon Meringue Pie is anything but easy to make - I had to laugh reading your thinking on that at the time. My favorite dessert as a child was lemon meringue pie and my mother never made it because she was never a good cook (and that is being kind describing her thus) and if she made one it would be a disaster, with soggy watery filling, leaden pastry and collapsing meringue.

    My grandmother was an excellent cook and every time we went to her house for Sunday lunch she would make me lemon meringue pie - a little piece of heaven every time. Thank you for reminding me of that and her today.

  17. As the ultimate teacher, Jesus gives you an A for effort.

    Following the directions does not necessarily have any correlation to how well it turns out or how it tastes. I am living proof of that.

  18. Great story, and something I would have done..actually have done, there was a coffee cheesecake recipe that called for three tablespoons of espresso, I didn't realize they meant prepared espresson and I put in espresso grounds...that was seriously strong grainy cheesecake :D

  19. LOL That sounds like something I would do!! I knew there was a reason I don't make pies. I let Marie Callendar do the hard part. I can stick just about anything in the oven! Great story!

  20. Great title, great story and great comments! I bet that we all have made at least a few of this type of mistake, but it makes for great memories and laughter for sure!

  21. You know that you can't burn in hell for that one. Justice provides that you be eaten raw, like by a shark.

  22. What a riot!! I substituted mint jelly for the apple that was called for in a recipe once... because they were both green... it was awful!!! The little cakes looked all festive but people were spitting into the cocktail napkins at the party... I haven't lived it down with my old roommate yet - 20 years later! LOL

  23. hahahahhahahahahahah.

    Oh, to be 26 and naive. *coughs*

    Anyhow, I have totally done that before, but I did it at 23 so I guess I'm ahead of the game? lol See, I've never been fearful of cooking, it's so user friendly and versatile, but it's only been recently that I've really been brave with baking.. Baking is so much HARDER!

  24. Where on earth in Hoopeston?

    I love that story... but I'm not sure it beats trying to reliquify the caramel for a creme caramel by placing it on the stove and having the glass pan shatter into 5000000 pieces all over you and the kitchen :) Ahhhh the lessons we've learned.

  25. so you're the one made that pie. Could I have my $4 back?
    When I read the title, I thought you had a picture of Jesus in your pie or cake.

  26. Well, it could have been worse -- they could have paid MORE for the pie. :)

    I have a horrible story about lasagna and garlic salt. It still makes me shutter.

  27. So, I just read someone wanted to know where Hoopeston is.....
    I know!!! Being from Gibson City, I even know what a Cornjerker is!!!
    Love the story about the pie. Luckily my few disasters in the kitchen have just stayed "in the family"!

  28. LOL! When I was a kid, I baked cookies in my EZ bake oven for the mean lady who lived next door. When I came back home to eat the cookies I'd saved for myself, I realized I forgot to put the sugar in them. Oops! My mom said the neighbor was so mean that she probably threw away the cookies without tasting them anyway.


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