Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peace, Love and Banana Cream Pie

All is well at the Richardson house again.

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so I kissed up to Dan by making a completely homemade Banana Cream Pie. And I guess the way to a woman's heart is to just do what she asks, so Dan made me happy by being around a lot more in the days following the drama.

A couple days after the blowup Dan was getting ready to go to his office here in town and he said, "Now, I've got a lot of work to do today, so I don't want any of your b.s. drama." I laughed and said, "did you read my blog?" He said, "No... man, why're you always outing me?" Later that day I was talking to my cousin Josh on the phone and he was like, "Poor Dan, his whole life and all of his faults are laid out for the world to see." I repeated that to Dan and he responded, "yeah, well, that was only one side of the story." I said, "well, then by all means, go leave a comment and tell your side."

I told Dan yesterday that I think most people missed the point of my post and he said, "that's just how women are, though." I didn't intend the post to be a "men suck, let's get the pitchforks, ladies" thing or a way to shame Dan. My purpose was to point out how we all get really worked up over things that, in the grand scheme of life, have very little meaning. The blog is a way for me to work out my thoughts as I write. I was regretting some of the things I said, especially after Dan told me to save the b.s. drama, and writing helped me think more clearly about how really blessed I am.

And, as is usually the case when I call Dan on something, I did not have all the information. Dan's not the type of guy who tries to defend himself and make excuses when I complain about something. He's just like, "whatever, if that's what you want to think, go ahead" and then as the days follow and he's not feeling so attacked, he'll tell me more about his thought processes or what was going on from his point of view. So the rest of the story is that Dan wasn't sitting around watching football for three hours like I thought. After eating, he was out putting up the horses, hanging the elk for skinning, and other ranch chores. He was out working after 5 or 6 consecutive nights of very little sleep and had just sat down to rest 20 minutes before I called him to take Amelia. I am duly chagrined.

So here's my question: I especially need my male readers to step up and give us women some perspective on balancing work, family responsibilities, and recreation from a man's point of view. Women, and stay-at-home mom's in particular, often have a hard time seeing their man's challenges from the vantage point of being at home with kids all day and being completely spent in the patience department by the time the daddy gets home. So men, some pointers on how your wife can be more of a support than a nag. Or if you just want a place to say "my old lady is killing me", by all means, go right ahead. Feel free to comment anonymously, although dug, I'm sure you can come up with something really witty for us all to enjoy. And if none of you step up, I'll just have to assume that Dr. Laura is right about how to keep your man happy: "men are pretty simple. If he's not horny, make him a sandwich."

Now, for you women, here is the Banana Cream Pie recipe:

Gram's Fool-proof Pie Crust (makes 2 pies)
3 cups flour
1 cup lard
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 egg
5 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. salt

  • Cut lard into flour until pieces are pea size.
  • Add remaining ingredients and knead until smooth.
  • Divide dough into two even sections to make 2 pies (and try not to be like me and just eat the whole second section raw. I was going to half the recipe because I only intended to make one pie, but then I added too much vinegar and had to increase everything to compensate. You may scoff, but don't knock this raw pie dough until you've tried it. There's something addicting about it, maybe the vinegar... And it's not just because I'm pregnant. My mother can verify that I've been like this for years.)
  • Roll out dough in a circle, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick, leaving plenty of room for dough to go up and over sides of pie plate.
  • Press dough into pie plate and cut excess dough around edge of pie plate (or if you really need to grovel or impress, try pinching in a fancy design around the edges).
  • Depending on the type of pie filling you're using, you may need to pre-bake the pie crust.
  • Using a fork, poke holes all around the pie plate to prevent the crust from shrinking too much during baking.
  • Bake pie crust only at 400 degrees for approx. 10 minutes until edges are golden.

Old-fashioned Banana Cream Pie (found on
1 9-inch pie shell, pre-baked
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 bananas

  • Combine sugar, flour and salt. Set aside.
  • Have egg yolks, slightly beaten, set aside and ready.
  • In a large saucepan, heat milk until almost boiling (scald the milk).
  • Slowly add mixture of sugar, flour and salt.
  • Over medium heat, stirring constantly, cook until thickened.
  • Cover, and stirring occasionally, cook for two minutes longer.
  • Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten yolks; when thoroughly combined, stir yolks into hot mixture.
  • Cook for one minute longer, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and blend in butter and vanilla.
  • Let sit until lukewarm (I cooled mine in the freezer because I'm far too impatient.) Tip: cover the surface of the concoction with plastic wrap so it doesn't form a "skin" on the top.
  • When ready to pour, slice bananas and scatter in pie shell.
  • Pour warm mixture over bananas.
  • Refrigerate until serving.
  • Top with whipped cream as desired. (Cool whip, or if you're married to Josh, get the canned whipped cream because then you have the added bonus of watching him spray it directly into his gullet until he gets a bellyache).
Note: If you leave out the bananas, you have vanilla cream pie. If you add 1 cup shredded coconut to milk as it's being heated, you have coconut cream pie.


Sue said...

P.S. This was the first time I've ever made homemade pie crust. It always seemed like way too much effort, but it wasn't too bad. Plus then I got to eat the raw dough, so it was totally worth it.

When we took the pie into Dan, Lily insisted on singing "Happy Birthday". The only time we've ever had Banana Cream Pie in the past is on Dan's birthday when I could run down to Marie Callendars and pick one up. Alas, there aren't too many pie shops here in Cokeville, so I had to go the homemade route. Banana Cream Pie will always be thought of as "Daddy's birthday cake".

Anonymous said...

When I said, "that's how women are," I should have said, "that's how people are." Meaning that all of us like to comiserate with others who are in a similar situation.

I've said many times that I could not do Sue's job. I have never thought that staying home with the kids is easy; nor have I ever wished to trade places with her.

Many couples have decided that the man will go to work and the woman will stay home with the kids. As such, the man is primarily responsible for the income-half of a budget. None of us make enough money, so I think most men feel a sense of failure when it comes to bringing home the bacon. Therefore, when a subtle (or not so subtle) criticism is leveled at us regarding our home-life, the criticism probably assumes a weight that is greater than what was intended.

A career person is under constant pressure at work: promotion, retention, competing against others, deadlines, need to make more money, and etc. It can be really stressful. To me, I feel like the well being of my family is largely determined by my success at work.

Fathers need to be actively involved with their kids and most of us want to be. The underlying issue (as every mother knows)is that taking care of kids is stressful.


P.S. The pie was really good.

Anderson Zoo Keepers said...

Dude, you are pregnant. Anything you say during this period has the drama increased by about 30%. It's a scientific fact.

And yeah...
We've had an approximation of the same discussion. I think most couples have - I'm glad you made up over pie. I'm very thankful my husband loves my cooking.

The Queen Vee said...

Great looking pie Sue and a great way to show your love, especially as you made it from scratch. Balancing all the different areas and responsibilities in a marriage for both partners is a never ending challenge. You just have to keep trying to reach the high ground together.

Spymommy said...

I'm no marriage expert. But something that Travis and I discovered about 5 years in has worked well for us - there are NO mindreaders in my marriage. For a long time I thought he was one so I was constantly disappointed. Our goal is to always be communicating openly what are needs are to the other spouse so they at least have a CHANCE of meeting them. It has made a big difference for us and I think has helped to lessen the amount of tense blow up type moments. Pie always helps though.

Becky in Wyo said...

Could I move close by, and then make you do something stupid, so you have to make me a pie, too?