Intrepid Pumpkining

last-slice-of-pumpkin-pie

This year for Thanksgiving I felt intrepid. In the baking sense of the word.

I attempted nearly-from-scratch pumpkin pie—a definite first. I call it intrepid pumpkining.

Deciding to forego the crust I opted for store-bought but the actual pumpkin filling I went for it and pureed a pumpkin from my mom’s garden.

baked-pumpkin

It took forever.

pumpkin-pure

To keep me accountable I told both sides of the family I would be bringing pumpkin pie with me to Thanksgiving dinner…but when it came to actual baking time I was having second thoughts. I clearly recall threatening more than five times to bring store-bought pumpkin pies to the gatherings, not even bothering to hide the fact.

Yes, I was desperate.

But, well, my husband baked the pumpkin for me while I was at work and so I couldn’t very well give up before giving it a fair shot.

As per usual I didn’t know what I was doing so I looked up a few recipes and chose one based on two factors:

  1. It called for ingredients I already had
  2. It had less than five instructions

Hey, I’m a picky pie maker.

pumpkin-filling

A problem arose when I doubled the recipe to make two pies and wound up with enough filling for three pies. Because I only had two shells (and still wasn’t willing to make more). So I thought, hey why not muffins—pumpkin muffins.

pumpkin-muffins

They totally flopped.

But the pies were good!

Unfortunately I was so relieved when they finally cooked and, you know, looked like pumpkin pies I stopped there and never took a photo. But trust me, they tasted right. And stuff.

And since I was still feeling intrepid I also tried baking pumpkin seeds, which were awesome.

roasted-seasoned-pumpkin-seeds

Who knew seasoning salt, margarine, and Worcestershire sauce could combine to create something so tasty.

HAPPY PI DAY!

I explained it all last year, so you can just read that if you’re confused.

If you don’t know me I will explain I don’t really “do” holidays. They bug me and I don’t like them.

However, my trend deviates at International Pi day. And not just because I like eating pie. Mostly I just think it’s funny.

Probably it’s not funny. I realize this.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t get math at all and I think I’m just making fun of all the math geeks. But really they’re all just making fun of me by getting me to celebrate a fake holiday.

Fake holiday creation

“HEY, math geeks,” (typed over some advanced IM program), “Wouldn’t it be funny to create a fake holiday and tell all those non-math-inclined yoo-hoo’s out there it’s cool to celebrate?”

“Ha ha yeah that would be funny. And we’ll make some math equations about how many actually understand it’s about a number and not at all about food.”

“Want to make bets?”

“Only if I calculate my odds first.”

Three point one what? Pi Day explained

Today is Pi Day! (Don’t worry, very soon you will have pi day explained.)

March 14 is every true mathematician’s favourite day, just ask my sister.

I’ve been looking forward to this day since I learned about it on March 14, 2006.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

(cue flashback music)

I was sitting in my car. In the driver’s seat. In my purple, two-door, 1991 Dodge Shadow. The one I cannot sell. My sister was in the passenger seat. She was visiting me at University so we could work in the darkroom and make a mural for my brother’s wedding that summer. We had picked up a vagrant as well. More like a guitar-playing-strung-out-pot-smoking-long-haired-hippie-freak-who-also-doubled-as-my-housemate-at-the-sketchiest-house-in-Kamloops-called-Graham. He was sitting in the back seat.

We were peacefully listening to music. Then the vagrant leaned forward.

“You know, today is International Pi Day,” he said.

“I love pie!” I said excitedly at the same moment my sister chorused, “I love math!”

Naturally, I didn’t get the math bit until later. Boy was my face red!

Now I celebrate with everyone else. But I still love pie more, no offence.

And yes, there is an official website. It’s not really cool but there is a competition to win a Pi T-shirt, an opportunity to send out Pi Day e-cards, and an active discussion board with three ongoing topics.

  1. I Love Pi Because…
  2. Memorizing Digits…
  3. Quotes About Pi…

As funny as this all is, I just can’t make myself check them out.

Unfortunately, Pi Day doesn’t really work in England. This is because numerical dates are read day, month, year versus month, day and year. For Pi Day to really be witty today has to be read as the third month and the 14th day (= 3.14). Here the date reads 14.3, which not only doesn’t make Pi, but it makes math less funny than it already is.

I tried to read about Pi Day on Wikipedia but it kept making math jokes and I had to close the page before my brain malfunctioned.

So, I really didn’t celebrate Pi Day until right now. All that the people around here seem to talk about is St. Patrick’s Day, whatever that is.

More headlines

Travel in Europe disrupted by wild storm

Hurricane-force storm batters Europe

This morning the Daily Telegraph reported a storm with winds up to 80 mph would probably hit the United Kingdom and parts of Europe by midday.

In actuality winds hit up to 92 mph.

(AP) Hurricane-force winds and rain lashed northern Europe on Thursday, disrupting air, rail and sea travel for thousands, toppling trees and construction cranes, and killing 11 people, including a 2-year-old boy crushed by a collapsed wall in London.

Worse than seeing chimney’s and roof’s leave their proper place on top of houses, worse than watching our fence dismantle itself piece by piece, even worse than watching the brand new swing seat topple over and crack in half as it attempted an escape–was driving home with the 8-year-old and watching as the lorrie in front of us tipped over.

After the incident, which left the 8-year-old shaking and sobbing, I went and picked up the other kids from school.

We couldn’t get in the 10-year-old’s school because a tree had fallen across the front gate and driveway. But we got to walk over the fallen tree, which was exciting. On its descent it picked up a picnic table.

At the 13-year-old’s school he told us about witnessing three girls’ near-death experience as a runaway dumpster pegged them as its victims.

The day was dramatic and eventful and it was quite enough, thank you.

Weather report for tomorrow: Wind gusts reaching up to 30 mph (that’s nothing!) with an average speed of 15 mph.

Recently I have been debating with a friend about whether it’s better to have a stable or a dramatic life. After having four months of relative stability (albeit chaotic stability) I have now experienced one day of drama. I am drained and still a bit shaky, even though it’s been nearly three hours since the winds died down.

As a mathematical… whatever, it would look something like this (maybe): Stability=149 days; Dramatic=1 day.

Therefore, I cannot be certain I actually prefer stabilic (?) days, being as I have not had a large enough sample of dramatic days to make an accurate decision.

However, I am still leaning towards stable, as I am not sure I can take any more drama.

Should I make a pie graph to help this all make sense? I really like pie.

In fact, I think I like pie much better than I like math. And I’ve had much more math in my life then pie, so I know that is an accurate analysis.

adventures in pastry

Yesterday’s after school chore was baking apple pies to put in the freezer.

Without a recipie or any sort of instructions.

“I know what to do, don’t worry,” said the 8-year-old.

“Mhm…” (is me, trying to block the plethora of disaster scenes from my brain)

I don’t know much about baking, but I quickly figured out I knew more than the 8-year-old and the 10-year-old put together. Except they both thought they knew best and it took a great mediator (moi) to settle things down.

Eventually I figured out how hot the oven had to be (many, many tries…), and stopped caring if the pies actually looked or tasted good and just threw random things into the oven and waited for them to turn into pies.

Two hours later there were three semi-pielike objects on the counter.

The dad comes in to see two very pleased-looking and very floury children beaming up at him.

“They look a bit dry, don’t they?” (said to me of the pies, not the children)

**

As we’re baking the 8-year-old said to me, “When I grow up I either want to be a sous chef, a teacher or a carpenter.”

The 10-year-old said, “Well when I grow up I want to be a head chef or a… I don’t know what it’s called but it’s a normal job, like a window cleaner but there isn’t any window cleaning.”

“Well now I’m officially the sous chef,” said the 8-year-old as he stood on the counter, spreading flour and bits of pastry everywhere.

“Bow to me you measly chefs! I am the sous chef!”

Then he proceeded to chase us around the kitchen with a rolling pin.

**

And this is only my first week.