Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving – I Swear I Didn’t Steal the Pie

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m heading to Tennessee for an old-fashioned Southern holiday meal, but before leaving, I thought I’d serve up this cautionary tale.

If somebody offers you a free pie, you might want to think twice.

Last week, a group in the office throws a late afternoon happy hour. On the menu – beer, cupcakes and pie. Don’t look at me. I didn’t plan the menu. Maybe the pairing of snacks and beverages wasn’t optimal, but the sweets were top of the line – pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting from the Magnolia Bakery. Yes, cupcake fans, Magnolia has opened a new midtown branch just down the street from the office. My administrative assistant is VERY worried about my waistline.

But, I digress. Due to the fact that the noshes and the beverages, didn’t exactly … uh, mesh, there were some leftovers – several gorgeous pumpkin pies. So, a very nice colleague named Sophia suggested I take one home. I was unsure for a second, since I had a theater engagement that evening, but decided that free pie doesn’t come along every day, and I could figure out how to pack the pie securely for the trip from Midtown Manhattan to suburban Long Island.

So, there I am, walking down the hallway with my boxed pie, feeling like I won the lottery, thankful for my colleague Sophia, and thankful for my free pumpkin pie. I pass by a few colleagues.

“Did you take that pie?” one of them asks.

I shrug off the comment, since most New Yorkers are an obsessively suspicious lot.

I arrive back at my office. My office neighbor “Danbury,” an aristocrat from Connecticut, gives me an accusing glare.

“Did you steal that pie?” he demands.

“It was a gift!” I insist.

I am now feeling like a criminal and thoroughly demoralized. Not one, but two people have taken what was a lovely holiday gesture and turned it into an incident worthy of the Fox News – “The Executive and the Purloined Pie – Film at 11!!!” Secretly, I am feeling a little guilty, because I had been contemplating a blog post on how one can eat for free for days on office leftovers. Scratch that idea.

I leave the pie at the office and go to the theater. After the final curtain call of “On the Town” I pick up the pie and head for the subway. The train never comes, and I am at risk of missing my train to Long Island. I hop an alternate train, that lets me off one block from Penn Station, and I have to sprint to the train, pie in hand. If you had seen me running down 34th Street at 11:32 p.m. carrying a pie, you might have thought I’d stolen it, too.

After all that, the pie makes it home relatively intact, with just a few cracks, as you can see from the photo above. If I squint at it, I can pretend it’s a smiley face.

The presence of the pie inspires a whole Thanksgiving dress rehearsal, of sorts. I pour over the recipe books and magazines, because you can’t have pumpkin pie without all the fixings, right? I roast a chicken, because Thanksgiving is all about a plump, juicy bird:

I make a silky-smooth gravy from the pan drippings:

I prepare a luscious dish of Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes:

And, I forgo the timesaving temptation of Stovetop Stuffing in favor of making my own from scratch – simple stuffing with apples and raisins. I even cube a whole loaf of Italian bread:

It’s all a build-up to that magnificent pie. It is a glorious feast, indeed, and a perfect prelude to the official holiday of thanks.

The spread is so good, in fact, that I am stuffed to the gills, and have absolutely no room left for the pumpkin pie!

May you fare better, keep your good reputation intact, and be sure to get your slice of pie!

©2008 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved


Rochelle R. said...

Your co-workers were probably envious that they didn't get to take home a pie. :) Your early Thanksgiving meal looks delicous. Looking forward to a post about your trip.

Anonymous said...

haha Pie Thief! Happy Thanksgiving, TW!

~~louise~~ said...

That was you I saw flying down 34th Street; pie in hand!

Not really...I may have paid to see that:)

Your impromptu meal shines with delicious innocence.

Thank you so much for the morning chuckle:) Happy Thanksgiving T.W. and don't forgo the pie!

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving , T.w. - what a funny pie story! And that roast chicken looks positively scrumptious!

Anonymous said...

You know New Yorkers -- suspicious by nature, though once you got that pie out onto the street, I'm sure nobody noticed you running (away) with it -- because New Yorkers also pretend to be indifferent. And I should know, because I am a native New Yorker! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Kathy said...

Your pre-Thanksgiving meal sure looks good! Hope you had a nice Turkey Day.

Anonymous said...

So it was you i saw running down 34th street with a pie the other day.. :-) The story is great!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Nazarina A said...

Thanks for the "free" dinner theater! I thoroughly enjoyed it to the last bite!

Babs said...

Wow - that Danbury guy sounds like such a JERK ...

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I miss you Babs! The road food has never been the same since you left us!