G. can be just about the sweetest thing on Earth. My train from Chicago to Wisconsin was delayed the other night, and I texted him to let him know so he wouldn’t be waiting for me at the train station.
He texted back: “OK, so 9:45?”
I replied: “I hope so.”
He responded: “Let me know. We need you here.”
We need you here.
That made me melt for two reasons. First, the we is G. and Biggie B., and G. has been taking care of Biggie B. for 18 months now so that I can travel back and forth on the train and we can see each other. Amtrak and CTA, as you know, don’t allow dogs on board. G. won’t admit it, but I think he loves Biggie B. as much as I do. Each day, when he comes home for lunch, he walks in and calls, “Where’s that Shih Tzu? Did he run away?”
Then Biggie B. comes ambling over and G. pets him and says, “Who said? Who said that Shih Tzu ran away?”
And then they have cheese and crackers together. In my mind, it is about the most adorable ritual ever.
And then the second reason I loved the text is because G. said he needs me. He says it all the time, and because I am not that expressive, I appreciate the fact that he is. It’s not easy to open up to others, but with G., he’s right there. What you see is what you get.
But lately, we’ve run into an issue. G. has started to complain about my cooking. Not the quality _ he still says it’s delicious. But he says there’s too much, and I’m making him fat.
Although, he let it slip the other day that he’s been eating holiday snacks that people bring to his office. I told him to lay off and save his calories for me. In return, I am cutting back and focusing on making others fat.
Last week, I made Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger from Molly Wizenberg‘s memoir/cookbook, “A Homemade Life.” I saved G. a taste but took most of it to work. Then one of my co-workers complained that I was making her fat. People, self-control? I never said anyone had to eat the whole thing.
This Wednesday, we had McManiac and his fiancée over for dinner, and I made pecan pie because I love pecan pie, and I had never made it before because it seemed like it might be difficult. But then I found a recipe in Martha Rose Shulman‘s “The Vegetarian Feast” that didn’t seem difficult at all.
I also was interested in trying it because it uses honey instead of sugar or corn syrup, and corn syrup has a bad rep these days, so I thought, you know, that maybe this would be a healthier pecan pie. As if there is such a thing.
Anyway, G. and the others liked it, but I am on the fence. It doesn’t taste like the gooey pecan pies you buy at the grocery store; I think that’s because it uses honey instead of corn syrup. G. and McManiac said that’s why they liked it: They don’t like the goo in commercial pecan pie. But I like the goo, so I felt slightly disappointed. Now, I’m wondering if there’s a way to adjust this to get that texture. We’ll see. In the meantime, here’s the recipe in case you want to try it:
From: The Vegetarian Feast by Martha Rose Shulman
1 pie shell
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon rum
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup broken pecan pieces
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prebake pie shell for 5 minutes, remove from oven and raise temperature to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter with honey, beat in the eggs. Add the vanilla, rum, nutmeg and salt. Fold in the pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean when inserted into center.
Just a note here: I baked my pie for 35 minutes as called for in the directions. The crust seemed a little dark, as did the top of the pie. Next time, I might just go 30 minutes and see how that does.