Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pickle Chiffon Pie!

What better activity to busy yourself with on a singular day off than making infuriatingly inedible food? There are those among us, neigh, even under our very roofs who would, and indeed, have already done such. One, Huckleberry Husband, perpetrated this dastardly deed. After many days of long hours, in which 70 hours of work were accomplished in six days, the man got a day off.

And he took to the kitchen.

A favorite children's book, Pickle Chiffon Pie (found at http://www.chinaberry.com/prod.cfm/pgc/11200/sbc/11202/inv/8962), has been the source of years worth of pleadings for such a kitchen atrocity. My response has always been a look of disgust and a quiet shake of the head indicating: obviously NOT!

Huck on the other hand always said, "Maybe some day."

Just a few days ago was some day, apparently. Huck had been tied down to his job, to work, to engineering, to things making sense and being useful and practical. And he'd had it. My interpretation of this crazy endeavor is that he just needed a grand moment of frivolity. He needs a regular dose. This is likely one of the best reasons I married him eight legal years ago, today! (That and we'd already had a kid.) He's got this surprising streak of grand and silly gestures that keeps a gal on her toes.

So he actually spent half a day in the kitchen, over double boilers, whisking egg whites to snow peaks, and Frankensteining recipes from our 1950's American-International Encyclopedic Cookbook.

What emerged at the end of the day was sublimely perfect. A white whipped topping over green chiffon. It sliced liked heaven. The texture was cumulonimbus. And then we took our bites.


Coyote hung his head in utter dejection.

Blue tasted and spewed.

I drew it in to my mouth, laid one part of my tongue upon it, and withdrew the intact piece immediately.

The most perfect and beautiful thing to appear on our table in ages was totally disgusting.

"Did you know it was going to be horrible?"
"Obviously Pickle Chiffon Pie is not going to be good."
"You...you...you spent all day in the kitchen making something so perfect and no one can eat it?" As the woman of the house who's role is now suddenly also to be the constant cook, I could not, cannot, will not (on principle) understand this.

So I threw my piece at him. My aim was true, by the way.

Chocolate? Vanilla? Lemon even. But dill and vinegar? A grave injustice indeed.

This isn't his first inedible pie. He once mistook flowering quince fruit for fruiting quince fruit and made pie out of it. My response was the same as this one. But he stubbornly ate an entire piece and spent all week puking. But that pie was an accident, a mistake. This pie was a piece of intention, a willfully wrong whimsy.

Indignant though I may be, I am amused. I do understand the requirement for an unnecessary flourish, a foolish trick, a waste of time, a glorious, perfect waste of time. Especially in the midst of too much work. Ah... Huck, a man who knows the value of play.

And yet I still feel I am owed a really really good chiffon pie.


  1. It sounds like a classic example of absurdist cuisine.

  2. that photo of coyote could make me cry! I'm going to make him a treat next time you guys come to Orcas!



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