Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

November 23, 2007

Sweet Deception

It has been approximately twelve hours since I told the lie. I am a notoriously terrible liar, so I thought for sure I would be able to keep it going for only about 5 or 10 minutes tops. Big or small, white or malicious, I generally avoid all kinds of lies. Partially because I'm moral and also because I have no natural ability to be sly or subtle. I am, I guess I could say, an "obvious" person. What you see is what you get. I wear myself on my sleeve - the good, the bad, the annoying.

I had no intention of turning this little thing into a lie when it all started. All I did was get talked into baking an apple pie for Thanksgiving. Everyone else was making something, and in my typical anti-cooking fashion, I volunteered to buy crackers, cheese, etc. That involves shopping (and helpful suggestions from Whole Foods employees). I can handle shopping.

But then Wine Guy informed me there would only be pumpkin pie for dessert. I don't know about you, but I need more than one dessert choice, and preferably one that doesn't involve a vegetable. So I said I would buy a pie. Wine Guy said, "Why don't you just make one? They are so easy." I tried not to laugh this off immediately and gave it some real thought. I looked up a few recipes online, found one that sounded easy and slightly interesting, and committed to my first pie baking experience

I needed to do this in isolation, with no one looking over my shoulder correcting my peeling technique, making suggestions, etc. I get very self-conscious preparing food in front of others because I am such a novice. So I like to hide my ignorance and hope that the end result does not reveal the chaos that went into creating it.

This apple pie did not comply. I have no idea what happened since I just followed the directions, which is all baking really is anyway. And these were simple damn directions. And I used pre-made crust for God's sake! But nevertheless, it was a disgusting mess, especially the "crumble" topping that was greasy and never seemed to actually turn into something edible. I suspect it is my old, uncalibrated oven which Wine Guy refuses to use because of its unevenness. Is that a fair excuse? If so, I'm sticking to it.

I was quite opposed to making my baking debut with a disgusting pie. I shared my debacle with friends Mendoza Line and Occum on Thanksgiving morning. The three of us were participating in a 5K charity walk/run (emphasis on walking here) and we discussed my options. Mendoza seemed to think the pie was salvageable and said she would help me try to fix it when we got back. I was doubtful, but willing to give it a try.

But then came a little bit of serendipity. At the end of the walk, there was a big celebration in the park with a band, a beer garden (at 9am!) and a big tent where they were selling all kinds of freshly baked pies for Thanksgiving. As luck would have it, there was my intended - apple crumb pie.

Occum loaned me the $15 which went to charity and there I stood....with a pie of deception in my hands. At first I joked that I would try to pass it off as mine rather than just openly declare my defeat when I presented the purchased replacement. The guy selling me the pie said, "You go ahead and take all the credit!" A gaggle of ladies heard my tale and all encouraged me to "own it." After 10 minutes of this cajoling, it started to sound like kind of good the very least a humorous, short lived holiday joke.

As I mentioned earlier, I have no subtle bone in my body and Mendoza Line was concerned I would utter my falsehood and then do my typical guffaw and blurt out the truth before the joke even got off the ground. She made me promise to hold a straight face. This was going to be a test of my will power. The stage for deception was set.

That afternoon we arrived at our Thanksgiving Day location (my VERY generous friend and co-blogger Melissa of Domestic Irritation loaned us her home while she and her family were out of town since all of us unmarried folk have teeny, tiny apartments). Wine Guy was immediately in full Kitchen Dictator mode. Kind of a mix between Asshole and Genius. I was prepared for it (7 months of dating will do that) and tried very hard not to take his stern expression and impenetrable focus personally. So when he turned to me and gently said, "So baby? Let me see your pie!" I was taken aback and flattered that he remembered me enough during his culinary frenzy to set aside a few moments to acknowledge my humble feat.

I was sure I would crack. But as he took off the foil I had wrapped it in to have a look (the store box was well hidden in the recycle bin), I grew serious. There were no silly guffaws bubbling up inside me. I wanted him to be proud of me. To think I could actually do this. He inspected the crumble topping and noted that, "it did look a little greasy" (man, if he thought this pie was greasy, I was definitely going to be screwed with my pie), but that it "looked really good."

I beamed, especially when he looked and me and said, "Congratulations baby!" and gave me a gentle hug and kiss. I ate it up. And there was no turning back now.

He went back to ignoring me in order to pull off what was an amazing dinner. We had 8 people total -- all stragglers with no family nearby - and drank lots of wine, ate too much, and played an improvised game of baseball in the back yard with some little kid badminton rackets and plastic balls. A wonderful day.

When it came time for dessert, everyone helped themselves. By then I was too buzzed to care and figured no one would pay much attention. I was right. On the ride home later that night, Wine Guy declared, "Your apple pie was terrific! Great job!" I humbly accepted the compliment and immediately began beating myself up inside. I am now, after almost 35 years (my birthday is fast approaching), an official liar. Well, I guess that's a pretty good streak.

I confessed the truth to my mom this morning and she reacted with a giggle. She assured me that people lie all the time when it comes to cooking. You know, store bought cookies popped in the oven to give them the fresh-baked aroma, etc. Is this true? Do people really do this? Even if they do, should I come clean? God help me if Wine Guy asks me to duplicate the recipe!

You are probably wondering why the hell I'm confessing this here in my blog if I want to keep it a secret. I guess that should tell you something. I don't really want to. I am 99% sure Wine Guy doesn't read this thing (if he does, I guess i'll find out soon enough!). But I know a few of his friends who came to Thanksgiving do. So I guess we'll see how long it takes until the truth comes out. Is it still "funny" or has it moved into just a plain "lie?" was YOUR Thanksgiving???



Loverville said...

When it comes to apple pie, I think a little deception is OK -- as your mom said!

And if you crack and eventually tell WG the truth? I'm sure you'll have a good laugh over it.

Melissa said...

Hey, we're back! (The house looks GREAT, BTW!)

I'm a LOT like you in this regard. I would "crumble" under the pressure of an applie pie lie. Tell him now before the ulcer develops. You'll sleep better.

Sher said...

Every woman who is any sort of relationship has baked her own brand of deceptive pie at least once.

Just smile pretty any time apple pie comes up in conversation and if asked for the recipe, bat your eyes and say that you just threw some stuff together.

Then perform a sexual circus act. This part is very, very important.

Mendoza Line said...

"Just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it."
/George Costanza