Last Thursday, we in the US celebrated Thanksgiving Day, and besides fixing turkey, my personal tradition includes baking a mincemeat pie. I do as my mother did and buy a jar of filling rather than make it from scratch, but pop it into a pie crust I've made using my mother's recipe. She actually didn't have a crust recipe, just threw the ingredients in amounts that looked right into a bowl and added water to mix until it was the consistency she wanted. But when I married and realized I didn't know how to make a pie, I begged her please to translate that into a written recipe for me. She did her best, pouring flour into the bowl, then measuring and recording the amount, and paying closer attention to how much of the other ingredients she was adding (just salt, shortening and water). She warned me that Crisco shortening would not produce the best, flakiest crusts like lard would, but would be an ok substitute. She also warned about working the dough too much before rolling it out - too much handling would make the crust tough. She was right on all counts.
But isn't pumpkin the traditional Thanksgiving pie, I hear you ask? Yes it is, and my mother made it too for our family feast. And I always ate some of each, although I was never that keen on the pumpkin, preferring the mincemeat instead. Every year I'd do the same, why I'm not sure, maybe tradition having something to do with it, or following along with what everyone else was eating. If everyone else liked it so much, then it must be good, right? I was well into adulthood before I took my last bite of pumpkin pie and admitted, I just didn't care for it.
Here's the funny thing though. I'd been doing the same as my mother, fixing both kinds of pie each Thanksgiving, and my husband and I were eating both kinds without complaining before I had my little epiphany. My husband looked at me and said, You don't like pumpkin? I love pumpkin but really don't like mincemeat pie. Really! Why had neither of us admitted this for the many years we were married? Tradition and a little of not wanting to hurt the other's feelings I think. We both gave each pie one more try the next year, just one bite, looked at each other, shook our heads no, and never again touched the pie we really didn't care for.
And since that day of swearing off pumpkin pie, I realized it wasn't just the pie I didn't like, which I'd decided was because of its sort of custard base and I don't care for custard. I just didn't like the taste of pumpkin regardless of what it was in. Now I was free from trying to like pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin-spice lattes! There's so much good food out there I DO like, I hardly need to consume things I am at best lukewarm about.
So if you are an all things pumpkin lover, by all means, enjoy all things pumpkin. But don't try to convince me how good these things are because they simply aren't to me. Give me mincemeat instead! And so a slice of mincemeat pie has been added to my comforts sketchbook, using the fountain pen with the brown ink, which seemed very appropriate. The pen worked really well on this paper, and I used a little trick I saw on-line of turning the pen over essentially using the back side of the nib in order to draw narrower lines on some of the shading and texturing. I'm getting pretty comfortable with this pen now, and I'm wondering why it was giving me so much trouble initially.
I also had a thought of an advantage of drawing food. No matter how good or badly the sketch turns out, you can always enjoy eating the subject matter afterwards!