Saturday, June 19, 2010

Looks May Be Deceiving

As pretty as the petticoats on the colonial streets, my second dish turned out to be a feast for the eyes. Not so much for the belly. Allow me to explain...

- Patricia Sexton selected p. 18: Edward Winslow's Ham and Egg Pie. (Authentic Colonial Cookery).

I'm pretty sure after a long week, this was the perfect dish to provide a quick, savory meal for the family. The only ingredients are eggs, pepper, baking powder, milk, cooked/cubed ham and cheese. Pair that with a nice side salad... and voila! Should be the easiest challenge yet! (After all, I scramble eggs on a regular basis, and I've made quiche before). Why don't I tie one hand behind my back?

Let's pause for a history lesson. Edward Winslow actually made his way from Holland to America via the Mayflower (not the moving company) in 1620. He offered himself up as a hostage at the first conference between the English and the natives to endear himself to the Indians... and later became the first to import cows and a bull to the colonies. Finally, he died at sea in 1665.

I'm pretty sure this cooking adventure was much like a hostage scenario.

Instead of endearing myself to Indians, I aligned myself to the modern culture by selecting pre-shredded cheese and pre-cooked AND cubed ham at the store. Don't worry... I didn't roll out my own pie crust either. I cheated on that one too. Perhaps I disturbed the colonial spirits.

- "Place pie in very hot oven." (475-degrees) No problem, right? I pre-heated the oven and when it beeped, I opened the door to slide in the pie. Only.... since I had broiled (with splattering butter the previous time)... when I opened the door, smoke billowed out! Zut alors!

- Never fear, we have a double oven! But now, I'd lost precious time. Dinner was supposed to be ready in a few minutes. How hot did the oven really have to be? After what I deemed to be appropriate "pre-heat" time... in goes the pie.

- Now for the hostage part. Patiently, my little sous chef (who took the night off), exploded by begging for me to read his new book on rocks and crystals. At the same time, the littlest chef (13-week old Brooks) was crying to be fed. So, snuggled on the couch, I proceeded to feed Brooks, read to Britt and forget all about the p-i-e. Until the timer went off.

What a gorgeous creation! I'm on a roll. I can't be defeated! Paired with a few fresh leaves of romaine (topped with roma tomatoes and vidalia onion vinaigrette) and a bowl of fresh cherries, I might as well call Bon Appetite and apply for a job!

This is where Mr. Winslow, or metaphorically... I die at sea. The first slice into this pie produced footage akin to the BP spill in the gulf. Instead of oil - it was a gushing geyser of semi-cooked egg and ham juice. Yuck. I guess you really can't judge a book by it's cover... or a Ham and Egg Pie. (Alas, I resurrected part of it through a trial and error cooking process in my toaster oven).

In the spirit of early America - I shall perservere. Until next time...


  1. The real question is what did you feed your family after the dish turned to mush?

    -Nick McKloskey

  2. I've come to understand that how it looks and "behaves" when moved/shaken tells me more about whether it is done than a thermometer or timer. I suppose that is what folks did in those days. I'm not sure we use our senses as much today as they did then.