Monday, October 12, 2015

The Story of Friends in the Kitchen

I was chatting and recently discovered that my neighbor makes a slam-dunk pot pie.  Like real pot pie.  Not a meat pie - a pie crust with gravy and stuff in the middle.  No, a filling thick soup with ham, homemade noodles and homegrown potatoes.  That's real pot pie, straight from Pennsylvania Dutch land. 

Oh man, I love the old recipes that aren't a flash in the pan.  They stick to your gut to make you full.  They simply cannot be imitated by a thirty minute meal.

When Sue suggested that we spend an afternoon together in the kitchen making pot pie, all I could do was grin.  She had her Aunt Inez's recipe and she was willing to share.  Since the Rugged Mountain Man was drooling, we set up the ham pot pie afternoon as soon as possible. 

Cooking in the kitchen with friends isn't something I do often.  I mean, there's my Christmas cookie day with my Mom and sister.  There's helping to put the finishing touches on holiday meals, but that's different.  I don't usually think ahead enough to say, "Come over and let's cook together."  I hope to change that in the future.

What an enjoyable afternoon!  We chatted and chatted and chatted.  We even managed not to burn anything. 

I learned a ton of great shortcuts, that only someone truly knowledgeable of their recipe would know.  She used spiral cut smoked ham, so all you do is boil it and take off a few of the hard rind-type pieces.  Throw in the chunked potatoes and move on to the those noodles (or dumplings, if that's your lingo.)

Sue also used a pizza cutter to rapidly cut the homemade noodles.  Impressive. 

Trust me, these noodles BELONG in this pot pie. 

Sue also brought me the best Christmas present ever, except it wasn't Christmas yet.  She brought me a pastry mat!!  As my sister says, "It improves my quality of life," which is mama code for grunt work just became way easier. 


Seriously, I've used my brand spankin' new pastry mat for several batches of biscuits and some Stromboli dough since then and grinned happily at the thought of Sue's present to me ever since.  You can bet my female relations are getting pastry mats this year for Christmas. 

I loved the fellowship of cooking in the kitchen.  I loved the learning.  I loved the give and take.  I loved the girls milling about, wanting to be a part of it and interacting with Sue and me in the kitchen.  It seemed like a wholesome picture of a sort of community based back in the home, as it should be.  I felt like we went back to basics - family, friends and good food. 

I adore faded and well-loved recipe cards.  When I take a look at them, I revel in the history and the love of family through the years.  I just had to share them with you.

My house smelled amazing.  The menfolk showed up just before it was time to ring the dinner bell.  For some reason, they acted like they didn't want to be stuck with a "bunch of women yakking in the kitchen."  I don't know what in the world they meant by that! 

We filled our bellies, full, full, full amidst the laughter and buzz at the kitchen table.  The Blossoms whole-heartedly approved of Sue's pot pie recipe, as did the Rugged Mountain Man.  I can't wait to do this again!