Monday, September 6, 2010
PRESENTATION ISN'T EVERYTHING
I've written before about our family saying "P-I-E" ("PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING") and the fact that my mother wouldn't serve anything to "outsiders" if it didn't look good.
We were having six guests for dinner and I had already bragged to people that I would be serving fresh peach pie for dessert. Norman would be bringing his famous "Caldo Gallego" (a Portuguese soup), Les would be making his fabulous garlic bread and fruit and cheese, but I knew that the "piece de resistance" would be the fresh peach pie.
I had been to the Der Dutchman Restaurant recently and had a piece of their fresh peach pie served with ice cream. I came home and said that I was going to duplicate it. I bought peaches and glaze. My crust looked beautiful. When I bought the peaches, they were a little hard on the outside, but I thought they would ripen in a few days. As I cut open the peaches, they were rotten inside. It was 4:00 PM and dinner was scheduled for 6:00 PM! What to do? I couldn't cancel dinner--Norman had already called me to tell me that he thought that he'd "outdone himself" with the soup. (Hey, we're not humble!)
I asked Gerald to go to Kroger to buy some more peaches; I even reminded him to squeeze them to make sure they were ripe. When he returned, the peaches were hard. I peeled them and used the softest ones for the pie.
Oh, the pie looked beautiful! Even my mother would have exclaimed at its presentation! I hoped that the glaze had softened the peaches. When I cut into the pie, the crunch was unmistakable--the glaze had not softened them--I think it cemented them!
At dinner, everyone had exclaimed about how marvelous the soup and bread were. After dinner, we adjourned to the family room and of course, I was hoping that they were so full they would forget about the pie. At 7:30 PM Norman asked, "When are we having the pie?" I meekly went to the kitchen and served the pie. Everyone was kind and commented how pretty the pie looked and that the "taste" and the crust were good. Damned by faint praise--the worst thing that can happen to a prideful cook!