I love to help kids get their food-loving legs under them. Whenever a niece or nephew or – well, OK … ANYONE – asks me to make something, I’m more than happy to oblige. If I can help a kid keep an open mind about food and flavor and texture, I feel like my mission is accomplished.
Often a request will come my way that simply changes the way familiar flavors are presented, or even challenges (a little bit) what is usual.
This is my story of my nephew, Nick, and Birthday Pie.
Several years ago, I came across a Martha Stewart recipe for apple pie with white cheddar cheese crust. I’d never made a pie before, but knowing that apple pie is my husband’s favorite I decided to give it a whirl. It was my first pie, and it was beautiful and perfect and totally Martha-worthy.
Since then, I’ve taken this pie to many Thanksgiving dinners, and it’s been received with rave reviews*.
So … this past Thanksgiving when I walked in with a warm pie, my 8-year-old nephew, Nick, came running up to me. His big blue eyes were lit with excitement.
Nick: “Amy, you brought pie!”
Me: “Yup, sure did.”
Nick: “What kind is it?!?!”
Me: “Apple, and it’s good!”
Nick (the light fading from his eyes): “Awe, man. It’s always apple.”
Me: “Well, what kind would you like?”
Nick: “Hummm, well, um … BLUEBERRY.”
Me: “Alrighty then, it’s blueberry you’ll get. How about if I make it for your birthday?”
We were agreed, and I promised the birthday pie.
When I told Nick’s mom, Karen, about our discussion, she laughed. “That kid has never had a blueberry pie. It’s funny that he is so certain about wanting one.”
Really, that’s all the motivation I needed. I couldn’t wait to make a pie for Nick.
As Nick’s party approached, I took to the internet … oh, the internet … to find a blueberry pie recipe. We are all familiar with my love of recipes. As luck would have it, the internet and The Food Network had just what I wanted and exactly what Nick had requested.
An all-butter crust, fresh blueberries, and a not-so-dead-sweet syrup to hold it all together. What’s more, this pie is drop dead gorgeous! I think that’s what I love most about pies … they are simply beautiful.
The big day arrived, and his special treat was ready! When I showed Nick his blueberry pie, still warm from the oven, the light was in his baby blues all over again. He was excited for singing, presents, and pie.
This is how Nick turned 9, enjoying his very own blueberry pie.
I love, LOve, LOVE introducing curious and willing kids to new flavors and different presentations. All they have to do is hint at wanting something, and I’m in the kitchen. It’s important that kids to grow into adults who’ll want to Eat It, St. Louis!
* Except for the year that my local market mis-labeled the apples and the pie filling liquefied. Since learning that horrible, hard lesson, I use only Granny Smith apples. They simply hold up best!