Each year for the family Christmas gathering Mom knew my Uncle Bill, her brother-in-law, loved pineapple pie, so she worked herself silly getting one ready to bring for him to eat. The rest of us enjoyed pineapple pie, also, but she made sure he got the first helping.
This beloved uncle long ago went to his heavenly reward. Everyone remembered the pineapple pie story—I alluded to it in my first cookbook, Way Back in the Country, which contained the recipe for it. But pineapple pies themselves haven't shown up at a holiday get-together for many, many years.
This morning I pulled myself away from the covers at an exceptionally early hour and had as my goal to try to recreate my mom's pineapple pie so the legend could live again when the family gathers this afternoon for Christmas Eve. Granted, nobody can follow in my mom's mighty footsteps as a cook, but my take on her pie is baked and ready to go in its pie carrier for a cross-town trip to see the relatives. Uncle Bill's story will be told once again; he will be remembered.
No doubt the same type of thing will be occurring in homes near and far today and tomorrow, as the food that is served evokes memories of special people and good times and past holidays that live forever in our hearts. In our family it's Uncle Bill's pineapple pie and Uncle Herbert's Barbecue and Nanny's orange balls and countless other menu items. In someone else's the food items may be vastly different from ours, but the recipes bond people to life experiences in exactly the same way.
May your dining be hearty, your recollections warm, and even some new traditions started because of a brand-new dish that's introduced as the generations roll on. For me, I can't wait to see what's on the buffet spread this afternoon and what new recipes I bring home as others share their creativity! Merry Christmas!
1 1/2 cups sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks (I use egg substitute)
3 cups milk (I use skim)
pinch of salt (or salt substitute)
1 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 ready-cooked 9-inch pie shell
your favorite meringue recipe
In a heavy saucepan mix the first five ingredients well and cook until mixture is thick. Add margarine, vanilla, and pineapple. Pour into ready-cooked pie shell. Top with meringue; cook in oven until meringue is golden brown.