21 December 2006

Kitchen Tools: Annie's Pie Crimper

December darkness came quickly and stealthily to Old Frenchtown, sneaking around the corners of the ancient weather-beaten barns and sheds.

Only the shops on Dunlap Avenue were bright with red and green lights — the shops and the little IGA store located just north of Grandma Annie’s back yard.

Often we went home with Annie in the evenings for a comforting supper in her bright kitchen. The house was cold and dark when we entered, but soon the furnace would roar on and Annie would walk toward the back of the house, shedding her dark coat and hat as she went and neatly stashing them in her closet before turning on the kitchen light.

She’d ignite the gas oven with a tiny poof! and light the burner under the kettle. Always, there was tea to be made and bread to be sliced and pickles to be placed on a cut-glass, leaf-shaped plate.

There would be ham or chicken or turkey and vegetable soup, for Annie’s suppers were simple but homey affairs. Always there was dessert, served with a twinkle in her eye, because of course, it was her favorite.

Annie’s sweet tooth was legendary in family lore.

In the years before she married my handsome Irish grandfather, Annie worked as a seamstress for one of the many French Canadian dressmakers who had shops downtown. On her first payday, she walked past a candy shop on the way home — and promptly spent all her earnings on sweets.

As an adult, Annie loved to bake cakes and cupcakes and pies. The latter is something she shared with my father, her son-in-law. Pies were his specialty, when he wasn’t cooking dinner.

Especially at Christmas, my father made pies for people: Librarians, elderly ladies living alone, old family friends. He rose early on Christmas Eve and made a variety, from fruit pies to cream pies. By 9 a.m., he’d have the car loaded with pies for delivery.

This year, there will be no exchanges of lavish gifts. Instead, I asked my mother for Annie’s pie crimper.

Really, that is all I need.

10 comments:

Lydia said...

My most prized kitchen possession is my grandmother's chopper, one of those glass jars with a piece of wood in the bottom and a chopping bit that you "pump". Whenever I use it, I can feel her hand on it, too.

Fiona said...

I loved reading about Annie, the pie crimper and your father; treasured memories.

Mimi said...

Thanks, Lydia, I know exactly what you mean.

Fiona, Annie was a perfect grandmother, at least we thought so.

Jann said...

I really enjoyed reading about Annie-how many wonderful memories you have . Thanks for the treasured post-

Anonymous said...

What a loving post Mimi.

FarmgirlCyn said...

Oh Mimi, I am ever so glad I found you in the big, sometimes bad cyber world! It is like I have found a kindred spirit! if I do not get a chance to stop by in the next few days, have a most blessed Christmas!

Mimi said...

What kind thoughts and sentiments from all of you. I am so happy to have found my blogger friends!

I get discouraged sometimes, in this blogging business as well as in life (don't we all!), but you all make it worthwhile.

Much love to you at Christmas,

Mimi

Why does it take so long to learn life's lessons — that the timeworn things like pie crimpers and memories are what matter?

Katie said...

My mother always used one of those.
She made pies at the drop of a hat...a few minutes to spare while the roast was finishing = an apple pie. Unfortuanely I never learned the art, sigh,
Annie must have been a treasure! Lovely post.

Kristen said...

What a lovely story. As someone stated prior to me... treasured memories of the past. I'm so glad you have them and that you've shared them with us.

Mimi said...

Thank you, Katie and Kristen. As I said, I worry sometimes about being self serving. Annie was a treasure, with many charming quirks, but she was the perfect grandmother.