Generally speaking, I'm a pretty positive person. I try to be happy. I try to find the silver lining when things don't go my way. I believe things happen for a reason. Even the bad things.
However, when I'm anticipating something, I tend to expect the worst. I just had this conversation with a friend and she understood. When you expect the worst, you are prepared for when it happens. If it doesn't happen, then you are pleasantly surprised and it's a good thing.
And so I start the story of my birthday pecan pie.
I visited a health food store a few towns over in July, a month after my diagnosis, and spotted a gluten free pecan pie in the freezer case shortly after I got there. I found a lot of things there that day. So many things I was overtaken with emotion at one point. I well up with tears when I feel I've found that things aren't going to be so bad after all because there are foods or restaurants out there that will allow me to feel like I can eat normally. Heck, I broke right down into tears in Wegmans this past weekend in the pasta aisle when I saw that they had gluten free orzo. Not even the health food store had that. My son was just asking me not a week or two earlier about an orzo recipe I used to make and how much he loved it and could I make it? I could, but not for me. And there it was, I cried. It was building up though as I was seeing all the other wonderful things they also had, and that broke me. Orzo...sigh.
Back to the pie. So, pecan pie is my most favorite pie, EVER. I didn't buy it that day because I don't just randomly buy pie because I would most certainly randomly eat the whole thing, all by myself. I did keep this pie in mind for my birthday that was coming up in a couple months. Especially since the gluten free cakes I've tried since then have really been hit or miss.
As my birthday approached I started to become very excited about the prospect of having pie. I've been back to following Weight Watchers so I was most definitely ready to treat myself to something indulgent like pie. I planned it all out. My birthday was on a Saturday so I would go out to the health food store on Friday and buy my pie. This way, it would not be tempting me for too long by being in the house for too many days prior to my birthday. Yay. I was going to have pie.
Friday morning arrived. I dropped everyone off to where they needed to be in the morning. I took my cat for her allergy shot, came home, grabbed breakfast and then headed out. It was pie-buying day. I was already doing my "expect the worst" thing though. The whole, "They probably don't even carry the pies anymore" and "I'm going to drive all the way out there and they'll be out of them" thing. This is what I'm thinking all the way there.
I walk in and make a bee-line to the freezer case. They have the pies. Woo-hoo. They have many pies. See, now I'm happy because I was expecting that they'd totally be out and they weren't. I spend a lot of time at the store and find many great things. My negative thinking worked and I'm pleasantly surprised by my whole pie buying experience.
This is where all positivity ends.
I pull out the box to prepare the pie on Saturday, the day of my birthday. I notice in the ingredients that the crust has been made with garbanzo bean flour. I try not to panic. I have cookies made with garbanzo bean flour and they're fantastic, as long as I don't think about it too much. You see, these little beans kind of freak me out. I have seen that some gluten free products do use garbanzo bean flour in them but they seem to be few and far between. Ugh. My lovely pecan pie is encased in....gag....garbanzo beans....gag, sputter...blech....can't handle it. I get ahold of myself and again, recall the cookies and tell myself that it's going to be okay. Really, it is.
I bake the pie according to directions and it's taking way longer to get warm in the center than the box is saying it should. I have found that when I bake gluten free that it seems it does always take longer than the the directions usually say but this is just baking a frozen pie. Who knows? I keep checking it with my thermometer to make sure the middle is warm enough in case it's not been pre-cooked since I can't find any indication on the box about that and there are eggs in it. I'm noticing as it's cooking that it's kind of goopy and runny. It doesn't seem to setting up the way pecan pie should be. I pull it out when it is FINALLY done and let it cool.
It's time to cut into it and try it. I turn off what seems to be a broken record player in my head screaming, "garbanzo beans, garbanzo beans, garbanzo beans", and cut into it. It's so very runny. I use a pie server AND a spoon to get it onto a plate. What an extremely sorry looking piece of pie.
I sit down with it and muster up enough courage to try it. I seriously cannot believe that this is the pie that I have been so eagerly anticipating for two months. It's now in front of me and I feel like I'm on Fear Factor with a plate of something squiggly that I must eat in order to win the grand prize.
First bite goes in. The filling, while very runny, is very pecan pie-like. The flavor is not bad at all even though the consistency is severely lacking between it being so goopy and the lack of smoothness that I can only assume is from the non-wheat flour thickener they must have used. I tasted it in my apple crisp too. The pecans are wonderful, when aren't they? Then, there's the crust.
The crust. You know I already have issues with the crust. What was it that I was not liking about it before I even opened the box? Oh yeah, GARBANZO BEANS. That broken record player turned right back on and a streaming chant of those two words were playing full volume. Shhhhhh. I'm trying to be neutral and give this crust a chance. GARBANZO BEANS, GARBANZO BEANS, GARBANZO BEANS. Can you hear it? If you could feel the way this crust felt in your mouth you might be hearing it too. I'm not even talking about my usual texture issues, this was just gross. It was a mushy I can't describe. I'm not even really sure what the flavor was. There was no chewing involved. It just kind of smashed against the roof of my mouth. Even if the dreaded garbanzo beans were not in this, I would not have been able to handle it. The fact that they were in it just made it worse. The crust that was on the edge of the pie tin got nice and crisp and that was not too bad so I have to wonder if the nature of the filling had something to do with the way the bottom crust baked up, or failed to bake up.
I didn't touch the pie on Sunday. Normally, a pecan pie would be gone the next day. It would be breakfast and then dessert after lunch and also dessert after dinner. Gone. I was looking in the fridge Monday evening and was going to throw it away, something I hated to do but I knew I was never touching it again. That's when my husband stopped me and let me know that my son had a piece after his breakfast that morning. Really? He also had a piece last night after dinner. I can only assume that because he is a growing 13 year old boy who is constantly hungry that this pie is even remotely appealing to him. So, the pie is still in my refrigerator. I'm glad someone is enjoying it. I asked him if he liked it that much and he told me that it wasn't bad. Yet another gluten free thing that his child of mine doesn't mind. This does make me feel better knowing that he does have about a 1 in 22 chance of inheriting this disease from me. He's okay with most of the food. At least someone wasn't disappointed with my birthday pie!