Best Hot Dish

Get a load of this fabulous artwork from a 1964 Arts Club Cookbook I found in my cabinet. Now I want you to know that I look almost exactly like this lady when I bake. It takes a while to get the scarf just right, but one must try…

The book was published in Aliceville, Alabama. I’ve researched in several of these church-lady-type cookbooks. They are famous for simple and delicious recipes and–lucky me–this one had a section about pies. An old friend of mine, Annie Dean, gave me this book when she was cleaning out her recipe cabinet. I knew her years ago when we lived in Powder Springs, Georgia. Annie has since passed away, and I treasure the stack of recipes she gave me. She was a sweet lady. I am considering the chocolate cream pie recipe from this book–my daughter, who will turn 13 in just two days, requested chocolate pie. This book tells on itself–no doubt it was published in the sixties. All of the pie recipes simply state at the end, “Top with meringue.”

Ummmmm…..OK. Lemme get right on that. “Top with meringue.” I’m assuming this means that any self-respecting sixties housewife would know exactly what that was and how to do it. Well, times they are a-changin’. I’m clueless. I mean, I’ve tasted meringue and all, but it should be VERY interesting to figure out. I’ve reviewed the directions in another cookbook. Stay tuned tomorrow for adventures in meringue. We’re having the chocolate cream pie a day early, due to scheduling issues. Keep your fingers (and anything else you’ve got) crossed.

Here’s another shot of how I dress to make pies. Those pumps are super comfy in a steamy kitchen. I do happen to have a small collection of aprons like the one in this picture, but I usually have to hike ’em up to the top, ya know? That’s where all the stuff spills.

So here’s what the poem (which I LOVE) at the bottom says:

“No soil upon the earth is so dear to our eyes

As the soil we first stirred in making mud pies.

She may dress in silk, she may dress in satin,

She may know the language, Greek and Latin:

May know fine art, may love and sigh,

But she is no good, if she can’t make a pie.”

Since nobody wants to be “no good,” then pie I shall make.

Tonight’s pie is Taco Pie. Yep, it’s the first savory pie. This tasty dish was originated by my Dad, and he once won a trophy at his office for “Best Hot Dish.” My family likes it a lot, and there are many variations. It’s full of beans, ground beef, corn, cheddar cheese, pepper and onions. The best part, in my opinion, is the Jiffy corn muffin mix topping.Makes for a delicious top crust. I like it with lots of sour cream and olives on top, although I’m the only olive-eater in my household.  Dad’s recipe has also appeared in at least one church lady cookbook, even though he was a church man.

Today’s pie-baking soundtrack was by Randy Travis. It’s a good CD, but I love #8 especially. “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is calling” is a special song for me. It was the song playing when, 33 years ago this month, I walked down the aisle of my church and asked Jesus to come into my heart. It’s a day I won’t forget. And it’s one of the hymns I loved singing to my daughter and later to my son as I rocked them to sleep. My youngest, who is now 7, looked up from his homework today when the song started to play in our kitchen and said, “You sang this to me once.” I could only say, “Yes,” because of the lump in my throat. The lump was there because of how sweet he was in that moment, and because I loved him so big right then, but there was another reason. “Softly and Tenderly” was my Dad’s favorite hymn, and just over a year ago, his nine grandchildren sang it together at his funeral service. I’ll always be indebted to my Dad and Mom for teaching me about Jesus. Always. Now who’d have thought that pie would’ve taken me there?

Anyhow, here’s a picture of my cute little helper today. He was helping me with today’s bonus pie–Apple Crumb Pie. I didn’t really intend to have a two-pie day, but we’re having folks over for dinner, and you can’t just NOT have dessert. So there. Besides, he asked if he could help. Could you turn down that face? I don’t think so.

This apple pie has red hots in it–cinnamon candies. I gotta tell ya, I have no idea what those things are gonna do when they’re cooked, but here’s the before picture. Remember, it’s a crumb pie, so it’s not supposed to look organized.  And here’s the after picture. Man, that stuff tasted awesome! It was well received by all who tasted it. It was NOT pretty, and I can tell you what happens to those red hots…they turn to glue. Tasty, tasty, glue. I don’t know how that pie dish will recover, but it was sure worth it. Lastly, I’ll show you the taco pie. The slices aren’t pretty on that, either, but no one complained. We added olives, cheddar and sour cream. Deeeeeelish. Whew! This baker’s pooped.

One thought on “Best Hot Dish

  1. marfdrat says:

    I have vague memories of Dad making that dish, but it’s been so long I can’t remember when it was. I cannot remember the last time I had it. Is that recipe in the SMRBC cookbook that Mom’s meatloaf recipe is in, or another one?

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