A cook, of course, can lose her head when people compliment her work, so when my husband and our friend praised my efforts, I forgot my plans to move the covered pie to a dark corner and left it on the breakfast bar in our kitchen. I did remember to take out the turner so they wouldn't be tempted to cut any more pie, since the rest would be for our dinner the next evening.
I slept well and awoke on Sunday morning wondering if my husband would cook the tasty scrambled eggs that he so often prepares on the weekend. But by now I'm sure you can guess what I found when I walked into the dining room. He was sitting at the table eating a piece of apple pie. And he was following the lead of our friend, who had already done the same.
I had to scold them both, like little boys who had eaten all of their mother's most labored-over delicacy before she had a chance to set it on the table. But I also had to laugh. I hadn't actually said the pie was for dessert for our Sunday guests. And, as our friend pointed out, I hadn't hidden the pie. It was right there on the breakfast bar when he awoke, just calling to him, waiting to be eaten.
My husband's solution to the problem of possibly not having enough pie for everyone was to make another. I didn't even consider that; neither did we have enough apples nor did I want to spend all of a sunny Sunday in the kitchen. Instead, I found some fruitcake in the cabinet that another guest had brought as a gift. We had never opened it and it could certainly supplement our meager slices of pie.
We had two fewer people than I expected for dinner, and by cutting small pieces of pie, we had enough. We even had one sliver of filling and crust left over. I told our guest that I would leave it out for his breakfast the next morning and I fully expected the plate would be in the sink when I got up, but it wasn't. I went to a morning meeting, then came home to eat lunch with my husband. I assumed he would have eaten the pie for breakfast or lunch. So after he ate lunch and went to work, I crept to the dining room and peeked around the corner to see if, by some miracle, the last piece might be there calling my name.
And so it was. The cook got a small reward after all.
Beth Dotson Brown is a writer
and editor living in Lancaster.|12/4/03***