More than pie

By Mir
November 23, 2007

I had pumpkin pie for breakfast, as I consider that the inalienable right of anyone who spends two straight days cooking. I’m sorry; don’t try to convince me otherwise. The rules are clearly such that the day after Thanksgiving means any red-blooded American must do a few (if not all) of the following things:

1) Sleep late.
2) Eat pie for breakfast.
3) Put away the (third) batch of Thanksgiving dishes that had been drying.
4) Start a pot of soup with the turkey carcass.
5) Announce that even though the fridge is stuffed to bursting with all manner of food, we need to go grocery shopping, because we’re out of milk.
6) Yell upstairs to the playing children “Have you eaten? No? You should eat something!” and then just leave them be, because really, they are not going to starve to death and they ARE playing nicely.

And that’s the true meaning of Christmas. Wait. (Oh, crap. Christmas. Number 7 is try to figure out where your Christmas stuff is.)

The food yesterday was AMAZING. And I don’t just mean in the “man, I’m an awesome cook, and also very modest” sort of way. First of all, I didn’t make all the food. Second, I don’t really regard following someone else’s recipe as a personal triumph. Maybe we could commend my good taste for choosing said recipe, or congratulate me on, I don’t know, KNOWING HOW TO READ, but really, cooking is art wrought by the recipe-inventor, I think.

(That said, I did make up the stuffing recipe and it was really good. HA!)

But, for example, I made a conventional cranberry sauce and then I also made spicy cranberry-tangerine chutney and the spicy stuff made me wonder why anyone would ever eat the plain cranberry stuff voluntarily. (And I like the plain stuff! Er, I did!)

And ye brining unbelievers, you have not LIVED until you’ve had a brined turkey. Mmmm. Otto rocked the turkey. I don’t know if it was the brining or his mad cooking skillz (I am putting that Z there just to irritate him) (hi honey! love you!), but the turkey was the most tender and flavorful I’ve ever had. And while it’s POSSIBLE that I’ve just always cooked really terrible turkey, I think it’s more likely that brining just makes it extra super duper good.

Everything was delicious, is my point, including a homemade mac-and-cheese one of our guests brought which he told me “is so good, we call it the Widowmaker!” I appear to still have a (living) husband so it may be slightly misnamed, but only slightly.

The thing is, though, the food was not the highlight of my day. I mean, I LIKE food—I mean, I RILLY RILLY RILLY LIKE FOOD—but that was really just the icing on the cake.

When I was a young single, I never really entertained. I mean, no one I knew really did; we were all young and poor and living in dumpy apartments, for the most part. When I was married the first time, we almost never entertained. On those rare occasions when we did, it was always an occasion for great stress. My ex would try to help, I suppose, but he didn’t cook (at all) and truth be known I maybe should’ve taken a clue from our inability to coordinate on any task without getting into an argument. So when we TRIED to prepare for guests I generally was left with an overwhelming urge to poison his food. And after I divorced I didn’t entertain because I was either broke or overwhelmed or both.

And I know I say this EVERY TIME that Otto and I have people over, but GOOD LORD, why didn’t anyone tell me this is supposed to be FUN? I mean, that it CAN BE and absolutely IS fun?

To wit: Around noon yesterday, Otto peeled the potatoes while I finally hopped into the shower. When I came out, it was to discover Otto mumbling at the sink… which was half-full of water.

“You clogged the disposal?” I asked. We’ve done it before. Actually, it’s ME that did it before. And that was just one of the many demonstrations of Otto’s love for me, when he took apart the trap and emptied it of years-old vegetable matter and didn’t yell at me even once while he did so, even though there was quite a big of gagging involved.

“Yes. Argh. Stupid.” Otto was annoyed, to say the least.

I, on the other hand—having spent a day and a half in the kitchen with him, having spent most of the week in preparation for the gathering we were to have in just a few hours—found this to be a relief. And I started to laugh.

He, of course, looked at me in a way that conveyed he was concerned I’d finally lost it.

Through giggles, I was able to explain that every major holiday needs to have at least one disaster, and in the grand scheme of things the clogged disposal was hardly a big deal. In fact, I figured this would protect us against a grander failure, like the oven going on the fritz or one of us dropping the turkey. After a few moments Otto understood and relaxed.

And we kept on getting things ready and we even had time to snap a Christmas card picture before our guests arrived. I looked at the picture on the little camera screen, and I saw a happy family.

(A happy family about to eat themselves into a stupor!)

So the house was full of people for a few hours, and we ate and talked and laughed and I was happy to be in the kind of house and the kind of marriage where having people over to share a meal doesn’t feel like work, but like a blessing. And that last sentence there was even cornier than my cornbread stuffing, but it’s true.

And I would’ve said that even if I hadn’t had pie for breakfast.


  1. Otto

    Pie for everyone! It is good for the soul.

    And, damned, that stuff was freaking amazing …

  2. Karen

    That is really beautiful Mir – such beautiful imagery, and I can totally picture you giggling. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Otto and the kidlets. xo

  3. birchsprite

    and reading about it is a blessing too!

  4. Wendy

    We had that same disaster one Thanksgiving. I guess I can be thankful for Walmart for being opening, because we needed some doo-dad. Although, we had a surprise in the middle of the gunk, a dead mouse. I still wonder why he went down there? I guess he ate too much and got stuck. I think a lesson was learned by all that day: Don’t eat too much or you will get stuck.

  5. D

    Lovely story to share – so thanks for sharing it. Sounds like all are well in the household.

  6. Barb

    Very funny post!

    Oddly enough, I ate Ruffles with sour cream and onion dip for breakfast (just to get rid of them, of course!)

    Brine-I have to second you on the brine recommendation. (Thank God my husband is a genius cook!)

    Our Thanksgiving Disaster this year was that we did not think of gravy! Imagine that! It’s because we didn’t have mashed potatoes (my sister brought a different kind of potatoes, which didn’t call for gravy.) While we did survive (dinner was fantastic), we agreed that gravy is a bonus for turkey and stuffing, even if there are no mashed potatoes.

    Happy Day After…

  7. carmen


    I ate pie for breakfast, have no milk in the fridge, have dishes drying on the counter, and have yelled at my kids a million times today alone. Are you living my life, Mir?

    I’ll bet not – yours is more exciting. Brined turkey, yum. We had a dried out, albeit cooked by someone else, turkey.

    Good for you on the picture!

  8. jp

    Lovely story Mir, glad your day was special. I didn’t have pie for breakfast today, I had stuffing! But then again I was the only one in the house who had to go to wk this am, so I felt justified!
    I think the day after any holiday should be a non-wk day………….it only seems fair!
    I’m avaoiding thinking about Christmas at least for a feww weeks anyway!

  9. Daisy

    If you had a compost bin, the veggie peelings wouldn’t have to go into the disposal at all. :) Glad your Thanksgiving was fun!

  10. Contrary

    Pookie said that the dressing was the best I’d ever made, which is so generous of him as it implies that usually my dressing is just fine but this year I surpassed that, when in reality my dressing usually sucks and this year it was actually edible (and quite tasty!)

  11. Angeline

    Hey, nothing matters more than the whole family is having fun together…at times like these, even the worst food taste sweet…

    but you definitely had a FEAST on the dining table! What a treat!

  12. Kendra

    Congrats on a beautiful day!

    Things were great here too-it was our 10th annaversary and I got a diamond neclace. That and pinot noir seemed to make the endless hours on my feet all worth it!!

  13. kidzmama

    You and Otto are made for each other. So glad you can make each other laugh. It’s very important for life.

    It all works out in the end. Congrats on a great get together!

  14. Pave.Gurl

    Barb: Mashed potatoes? On Thanksgiving? I do not understand this.

    … then again, I am Completely And Totally Southern, so meals that involve gravy involve rice in my world. Mir, you didn’t mention the most important parts of Thanksgiving dinner in the south: green bean casserole and sweet potato souffle! Swear to all that’s holy, I wait all year for the holidays just so I have the opportunity to eat these two dishes.

    (For the record, I have made them other times, but it’s just not the same, somehow, unless there’s a giant pile of Other Good Stuff around them.)

  15. dad

    Welcome to the world of “this is the way it’s suppose to be.”
    You all deserve it…matter of fact “y’awl deserve it.
    And I hope you remembered to give thanks.

  16. Lisa

    What a great post! I’m glad you had such a great Thanksgiving!

  17. jennielynn

    I had carrot cake for breakfast. It was spectacular. And I only had to make a pan of rolls. Best of both worlds, I’d say.

  18. amy

    Awwww! How touching :) I’m hosting Xmas dinner, can you and Otto come cook for me?

  19. LuAnn

    Sounds like a fantastic day. (And, truth be told, I had pie for breakfast this morning as well!)

  20. Katherine

    Darn, I forgot the pie for breakfast! I was in a bit of a hurry this morning. I’ll be sure to remember pie for breakfast tomorrow. I did have my favorite sandwich for lunch – turkey/cranberry sauce and stuffing. Delish!

    I’m about to go fix (reheat) the Thanksgiving feast all over again. I LOVE leftovers for the lack of thinking and work involved.

    Having stopped up a disposal before with potato peelings, I feel for you. Now, no potato peels or oatmeal go down the disposal.

  21. David

    Splendid post. Glad your Thanksgiving Day festivites went well. As for those pesky potato peelings, you mean you didn’t put them in the Casino for that poor hungry little squirrel? *runs like heck*

  22. Heather

    You’re making me wish it was Thanksgiving here, too ;-) That was marvelous. I’m so glad you had a great time, and I’m so happy for you and your new family portrait.

  23. Flea

    What a splendid Day! Yes, pumpkin pie is a definite breakfast food, but one I’ve been enjoying for weeks. When you make your pie from scratch, you know it’s breakfast worthy every morning! Much better than coco pops. Pumpkin, eggs, milk, a little sugar – yummmmmm. And this is really the only time of year to enjoy it.

  24. Cele

    My husband says pie for breakfast is good for the soul.

  25. Michelle

    Despite the disposal your day sounds wonderful. I’m so happy for you.

    The only other thing that I can suggest for fabulous turkey is to not only brine it but to cook it over a charcoal grill, it tastes like bacon. Try it sometime. . .

  26. LOD

    Lots of trenchant insight here, including the breakfast choice. I had a turkey sandwich the size of my head and lapsed into another tryptocoma by 10am.

  27. Stacia

    I had apple crisp for breakfast. It has fruit, how can it not be healthy. And pumpkins, they’re very healthy. So I think we’re all good.

  28. Carrie

    Of course, pie for breakfast. Isn’t that required the day after Thanksgiving? I was unaware there was another option. It’s the same as birthday cake for breakfast the day after a birthday.

  29. The Other Leanne

    Did you know that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days for plumbers? And did you know that the main reason is clogged garbage disposals? And do you know what is clogging so many of those devices that plumbing companies have to have extra plumbers on call for the day?
    Potato peels.
    One more reason to cook ’em with the skins on.

  30. megan

    I had chocolate chiffon pie for breakfast. I refuse to feel bad about it. In comparison, pumpkin pie is quite healthy.

    Also, last Christmas my oven caught fire. A clogged disposal would probably have been a relief after that.

  31. Sarcastic Mom

    Braden wasn’t into the whole sleeping late thing, so we had to put duct tape on his mouth before we went back to bed.

    And then was TOTALLY had apple pie and coffee for breakfast.
    WITH whipped topping. Uhn!

  32. Burgh Baby's Mom

    If you don’t eat the pie for breakfast, then when will you get to eat it? I mean, you can’t very well have it for lunch two days in a row. The easiest way around that is to mix up your meals, right?

  33. Lynn

    You have SO MUCH more restraint than I do! I not only had pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving, but the Tuesday before, and then on a few other occasions the work before that! I love pumpkin pie. And I really love it as breakfast (buried underneath extra creamy cool whip, of course)!
    Glad everyone had a great time!

  34. Colleen

    Sounds like a wonderful day..:) We went to my no leftovers.:( Tell Otto not to feel bad my dad had spent 2 hours replacing the drain(which had totted away) in the kitchen sink Tgiving morning. He didn’t even seem upset..I love my dad.

  35. Ayla-Monic

    dude, anytime we make sweet potato pie (which we do for thanksgiving, christmas, easter, and whatever other excuse is available) we ALWAYS have it for breakfast. why not? its vegetables.

    also, every time we make cheesecake (birthdays) we have leftover cheesecake for breakfast. why not? talk about protein…

  36. Carolyn

    Your husband reads your blog!
    :D Awesome.

  37. Gruppie Girl

    I am with you on the pie for breakfast. Nothing is better!

  38. nan

    You DO know that no-one else in the world eats pumpkin in a pie, right? Or even, that much pumpkin in one go at all! Weirdos!

    Now that I have insulted your cooking and family traditions, can you tell us how to make brined turkey? Pretty please?

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