Alternately titled: Henry & Erin’s Many Pie-related Break-Ups
I’m pretty laid back in a lot of different scenarios—well, mostly the ones that involve sleeping or watching TV—but when it comes to hosting parties, I am TYPE FUCKING A. I’ve always really enjoyed having parties, and one of the reasons I love the pie party is that it gives me a reason to have a party in the park instead of my shack-house. At the pie party, I don’t have to worry about my cat Willie pissing on someone’s purse, which some people might consider a party foul. (Ha-ha, do people even say that anymore? I didn’t think so.)
The first pie party was pretty simple. Henry baked one pie. We threw some fake leaves and paper tablecloths down on the tables. I had name tag stickers to label the pies. Only four of my work friends came, 10-15 of my outside-of-work friends, and Henry’s entire family. But every year, it’s gotten bigger. I wasn’t even going to have one this year, but people started asking me “When is the pie party going to happen?” a few months ago, and apparently Henry wanted to have another one, too, so I conceded. At first, I wasn’t into it AT ALL. But then, I suddenly got inspired to have the BEST PIE PARTY EVER because maybe this would be the last one.
So I started scribbling down ideas during downtime at work and on the trolley. I scoured the Internet for weird pie recipes while pretending to listen to Henry talk about his day. And then I decided that since it was the fourth pie party, I wanted to do pie four ways. I kept trying to tell people about it because I was so excited, but no one really seemed too stoked on the idea, especially when I got to the “pie-flavored popcorn” part. But I don’t care. Henry carried out all of my ideas and we had pie four ways after breaking up four ways. (Don’t worry—we’re together again. Barely.)
The main pies were Salted Honey Lavender (Henry’s pick):
And the Cupcake Pie, of which I can say for sure that I am a fan. Basically, after Henry broke up all of the mini cupcakes, he poured some sort of custard mixture on it and when it baked, the custard bound everything together and kept the cupcakes moist, while the frosting melted and hardened into these perfectly-crunchy pockets of SUGAR OMG SUGAR. And then it was topped with more frosting. I liked it, but trust me–no one was banging down our door for the recipe, haha.
(I put the sprinkles on it!!!)
Then there was the neglected caramel apple pie popcorn made with homemade Mexican caramel! Oh shit, that caramel was amazing, you guys. I think it’s called cajeta and it is made with GOAT MILK. I don’t know why I was so excited about this fucking caramel. It was actually on my list of things that I was going to attempt to make myself, but that plan was met with some skepticism from people who know me a little too well, so I moved that to Henry’s To Do list. Which consisted of basically everything and the poor man was literally in the kitchen all weekend up until it was time to go to the pavilion to set up, which was supposed to be my job, but it’s hard to do when Henry forgets to bring 75% of the things I need and ends up having to drive to the nearest craft store (FORESHADOWING) and my helper (JANNA!!!) doesn’t get there until literally 5 minutes before the party starts, and it’s 82 degrees and humid in OCTOBER and I’m already sweating my makeup off and I can’t wait for people to arrive and start hugging me.
Um, anyway. The popcorn had pieces of leftover pie pop pie crust in it and I thought it was really good but I eventually had to walk around with the pie pan and force people to eat it. No love for pie-flavored popcorn.
The third type of pie Henry churned out was an array of mini pies in pumpkin, cherry bourbon and Gorgonzola fig which were my favorites but he ran out of fig after only making about eight of them, ugh. I was super excited to use the three-tiered pedestal for those.
I’m totally obsessed with these fucking pie pedestals, you guys. “We” worked so hard on them! I know I will find a billion different things to use them for during the Pie Party Off Season.
And then there were the pie pops, which honest to god were nearly the demise of Henry and me. After my failed attempt at baking a few weeks ago, I bought a pie pop maker on eBay thinking that if I had a machine, I could do it. Because my track record at operating machines is so stellar?
Guess what? Totally not any easier. I tried to help Henry make some Friday night when I came home from work but it was complete bullshit and, to cut out about 45 minutes of obscenities from the story, I threw a total fit and then sulked on the couch. So then I was convinced that the pie pops weren’t going to happen but my puppy dog Henry diligently churned them out the next night while Chooch and I were busy gallivanting around town with Janna and Laura.
Sunday morning, Henry made glazes for the pie pops because I thought the crust wasn’t flavorful enough and then he taught me how to drizzle it on. And I succeeded!
I DID THAT DRIZZLE, YOU GUYS.
The pumpkins got all banged up en route to the park, so I was pissed about that, and then I was pissed that the free-form pie pops that Henry made were too top-heavy and barely stayed propped up in their pumpkin-display. They probably tasted like shit, but they sure looked pretty. So whatever.
If you were at the Pie Party on Sunday, you may not recognize the child in the above picture. But that is indeed a shirted-version of my son, Chooch, before he abandoned half his clothes in favor of wilderness chic. His only task was to fill my gold glitter mason jars with crayons, which he took very seriously by turning into this OCD crazy person who had to make sure each jar held the exact same number of crayons and then when he lost count at one point, he dumped all of them out and started over.
The idea was to use craft paper as tablecloths and put crayons on all of the tables, but HENRY only bought one roll which covered like, three tables. And then he brought a staple gun that only had ONE STAPLE in it, so we had no way to keep the paper on the tables. He already had to go back to the craft store anyway, because months ago, I bought several pieces of burlap to lay down on the pie table, and he swore that they were in the car, but only three pieces were there!!! THAT WAS NOT ENOUGH BURLAP! I NEEDED MORE PIECES OF BURLAP EVEN THOUGH NO ONE WAS GOING TO NOTICE BUT ME!!!!!
Another break-up in the books.
Anyway, Henry left to go to the craft store for burlap and tacks and also pick up some cases of water and ice, so Chooch and I pretty much just sat there, swinging our legs and being super bored with nothing to do. And then Henry came back and I said, “Oh good, give me the burlap” and he shouted, “DAMMIT” because of course he forgot the burlap. I was going to make him leave again but then people started showing up and that’s when we realized we didn’t have FORKS. So that took my mind off the burlap. Luckily, Kara had just arrived in time to save Henry from being disemboweled by my simmering glare because she had a bag of plastic utensils leftover in her car from Harland’s birthday party a few weeks ago, bless her goddamn party supply-hoarding heart.
And then Elizabeth came bearing thingies of coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts (and also her husband Mike and daughter Rachel) and I was like, “If I weren’t so socially awkward I would hug you” but instead I mumbled something about being stressed out and wanting to kill Henry. Elizabeth asked if I needed help and I kind of remember saying yes but not giving her anything to do. But god, that coffee was very appreciated. Thank you, Elizabeth!
It’s a fucking pie party. Nothing is happening other than people eating pie. I’m not walking down any fucking aisles, last time I checked, but I still get so stressed out that I’m almost (almost!) unable to enjoy myself. Luckily, I get distracted once people start showing up and eventually stop caring that half of the last pie table is un-burlapped.
A small crowd had assembled within a half hour and it finally occurred to me that no one was eating pie. “You didn’t tell them to,” Henry pointed out. So I stood up and said, “You can eat pie now” and then everyone did. I was unhappy with the plates Henry bought, but then too many people were there by the time I noticed so I guess that’s a fight we’ll have to save for another time.
At one point, I saw Henry flinch but I couldn’t tell if it was from my icy glare or the cupcake pie against his teeth.