by Angela b
This is my second stab at this challenge. Smell of food brings back no memories
for me. Just the sight of it.
Disclaimer: Not mine and never
Note: This is my second attempt at answering the August challenge.
The part about Chris and Buck eating the pie in one sitting is based on the fact that’s what my brother and his friend use to do. Mom had to make extras so the rest of us could have some for desert.
The black clad man walked through the bakery department at the grocery store. He had stopped to pick up supplies for the weekend. All the guys were coming out Saturday. A slow grin appeared on his lips. Since coming together with this unorthodox group of men his life had changed drastically. He very seldom spent a weekend alone and Holidays were never spent drinking and fighting anymore. Instead he found himself, more often than not, ramrodding a dinner for his new family.
He smirked to himself. If anyone had told him three years ago there would come a time in his life where he would he enjoy having six overgrown boys invade his household and generally make a mess of it he would have shot them. Now, five years after his wife and son had been buried he had a new family. One that meant as much to him as Sarah and Adam had in a different way.
Chris walked past the cookie counter and decided against buying any. He then walked past the pies. Yes, maybe a couple of pies would be nice. As he looked over the selection his eyes caught the sight of a chocolate one. Picking it up he could tell it wasn’t one made from scratch. ‘Chocolate pudding in a graham cracker crust’ he thought to himself as he made a face at the pastry before putting it back. ‘Sure isn’t what mom used to make’. A full smile erupted onto Chris’ face at the memory it bought back.
Chocolate pie had been his favorite when he was boy growing up in Indiana. His mom would make them for him for no other reason than that. She had been given the recipe from her mother. When Sarah and him married his mother had written down the recipe and given it to her. The memories of his wife were no longer as painful as they once were he suddenly realized. He could now remember her and Adam without feeling like his breathing would stop.
The part-time rancher finished picking up the rest of the items on his grocery list and started for the check out line. Halfway there he paused in the middle of the isle. He still had not picked up a desert and since he had started reminiscing about his past he just wasn’t in the mood for a store bought desert. Decisively making up his mind he began mentally recalling the ingredients needed for the chocolate pie he was so fond of. As a boy he had watched his mother make the delectable bake good several times. He had even made it himself a couple of times in college and then he had helped Sarah make it a few times. When she was pregnant with Adam she hadn’t been able to hold out to stir the thick mixture.
Thirty minutes later he paid his bill and headed for his truck. The worst part of buying groceries to him was the length of time one had to wait in line to check out. Sometimes it felt to him that part took longer than getting the groceries.
The next morning he tended to the chores. Returning to the house he cleaned up before heading into the kitchen. The first thing Chris did was retrieve the pot that his mother always used to make her pies from under the counter. His mother had a set of three of these pots he chose the largest one. They were made from steel not the aluminum material they used today. His mom always said if the house caught on fire it was a sure bet the pots would survive it. Chris had no doubts, because in fact they had. The three pots were part of only a few things to escape largely unscathed from the fire hat took his precious wife and son. The firemen had been about to toss them when Buck rescued them. Knowing how important anything from the fire would be Buck had taken them home and scrubbed them until they were once again useable.
Chris thought about what a good friend the man had been during that time. As if on cue Buck and JD entered the ranch house laughing and carrying on about something Chris couldn’t understand. The blond shook his head, there was only one period of time in his life that he couldn’t remember his friend not being able to laugh. The death of his wife and son had almost taken as much out of the jovial man as it did him. Then for the next three years Buck had taken care of him. Five other men now equally shared that job, the thing was each one of those other six men he worked with were taken care of by the others. It all balanced out. Chris smiled to himself, it felt right having these guys in his life.
Buck had just stepped into the kitchen when they heard Nathan and Josiah enter the front door. “What’s ya up to, Pard?” The black-haired man asked with his mischievous smile firmly in place.
“Making chocolate pies,” Chris replied, never stopping from his task. He couldn’t lose count of the number of spoonfuls of flour or the recipe would turn out wrong.
“THE chocolate pies,” Buck asked with much anticipation, stepping further into the kitchen.
When Buck had first become friends with the tall blond he had worried about the inevitable, “So what does your parents do?” question from the new friend’s parents. But to his delight and immense relief they never asked. He had eventually told them and neither one was as judgmental as he feared they would be. There were several things he could remember about Mrs. Larabee, but his favorite was going home with Chris and being treated to her homemade chocolate pies. Him and Chris could sit down with a whole one and a gallon of milk and be in absolute paradise.
“Yep,” Chris finally replied after he moved on to adding the next ingredient.
“Hey what are ya’ll doing?” JD asked as he bounded in the kitchen with the remaining four men behind him. Vin’s jeep had refused to start and Ezra had swung by and picked up the young sharpshooter.
Buck turned to his roommate, “Chris is making THE chocolate pie,” The big smile on his face made it evident that this was a real treat.
“You can bake, Chris?” JD asked, then immediately froze as Chris’ hands stilled for just a second, hovering over the mixing bowl.
Continuing on with his creation the leader shook his head mentally, “Yes, JD I can do more than just grill steaks and run the can opener.”
Trying to recover from his blunder and make things right JD added, “I just meant…well, I just thought…I” JD couldn’t stop himself.
Vin looked over the shorter man’s shoulder to watch the process and began to chuckle as JD struggled to cover his blunder. “JD lay the shovel down.”
JD turned around and looked into the blue eyes, “Uh?”
Vin smiled and grinned, “Well, when you find you’ve dug yourself into a hole it’s always best to stop shoveling and lay it down.”
“Oh,” the computer whiz replied, still puzzling out Vin’s explanation. “OH!” JD laughed as he finally caught on to what his friend was saying.
Ezra turned to the oldest agent and said, “We must simply expand Mr. Dunne’s vocabulary.”
Josiah returned the smile as he and Nathan headed back to the living room to claim the most comfortable chairs first. As they were walking out followed closely by the southerner they could hear the youngest member talking to Buck.
“So, what’s so special about these pies,” JD asked curiously. It had been obvious that the chocolate pies meant something special to Buck and Chris.
“Well, for starters no matter how they turn out they’re great,” Buck started to explain, as Chris poured the thick chocolate mixture into the crusts he had made from scratch earlier.
“Chris’ mother used to make them for us every time we went home. She would make four or five at a time because she knew Chris and I could eat a whole one in one sitting. She was a wonderful cook.” Buck paused, with a smile on his face as the memories of those times came reeling into view. Chris’ mother became a surrogate mom to him and treated him no different than she treated Chris.
As the pies cooled Chris handed the pot and spatula to JD to lick clean. Licking the remaining mixture out of the pot had been one of his favorite parts when his mom baked. Listening as Buck continued to talk about the pies and their significance Chris walked over to the sink to start cleaning the few dishes he had dirtied. Vin moved to his side and started helping.
“She gave the recipe to Sarah and the first time…” Buck stopped cold and squeezed his eyes shut, mentally berating himself. It had been the first time he had ever mentioned her name to the others in Chris’ presence. It had always been a taboo subject.
Chris had stopped suddenly at the sound of his wife’s name being mentioned. He turned towards his oldest friend and could read his thoughts even with his eyes closed. The man was being harder on himself than Chris ever could. Putting down the dishrag he walked over to Buck and laid his hand on the big shoulder. He could feel the minute tremors racing through his friend. When Buck opened his eyes and turned towards the blond he didn’t find the angry scowl he’d been expecting, but a semi-sad smile. Buck understood he had been forgiven. He was just about to herd the kid out of the kitchen when Chris spoke up.
“Let’s just say the dough was a tad thick, we ate it with a spoon and the meringue burned.” Chris finished Buck’s story with a small, but heartfelt smile.
Chuckling a little at the memory. Buck and him had come home to find Sarah sitting at the table bawling her eyes out. It had taken the rest of the evening for them to convince her that they weren’t so bad. They didn’t dare mention the smell the burnt meringue left behind. The next weekend the two men had helped Sarah learn how to make the pies. Chris also, silently lowered the rack in the oven so it wasn’t so close to the heating elements.
An hour later Chris went back into the kitchen and whipped up the meringue until it was light and fluffy. He raked the white egg mixture onto the pies then using a spatula he smoothed it out until the pies were evenly covered. Most people left their meringues flat, but his mother had taught him how to use the tip of the spatula to swirl little peaks in it, giving it a special look. Putting the pies back into the oven to brown the meringue Chris felt rather than saw Buck’s approach.
“Sorry,” Buck started. Lines of worry and pain evident to only Chris. “About earlier,” the big man finished quietly.
“It’s ok,” Chris replied, laying his hand once again on the massive shoulder. “Besides, it’s a good memory to have.”
Pausing for a moment he looked into the sorrowful eyes of his friend and brother and realized how truly blessed he was Buck was still in his life. “Maybe, it’s time we shared a few more of them. Locking them away won’t keep them alive, only by sharing will they remain vivid.”
Buck looked up sharply at his friend with complete surprise written all over his face. After a moment he knew Chris really meant it. “Yeah. It would be nice to bring them out of the back,” referring to the many memories stored away in the back of his mind.
The ding of the timer let the tall blond know it was time to check on his pies. Opening the oven door he peered in and smiled. Perfect. Removing the pies with the use of a potholder he set the deserts onto the counter. The smell alone had all six men in the kitchen within moments.
Chris laughed as the seven of them crowded into the kitchen, “Better than a dinner bell.”
“Amen to that,” Josiah’s loud voice called out.
Forgoing lunch the men grabbed a plate and waited for Chris to cut into the pies that had yet to cool off. Teasingly Chris stopped his movements of slicing the first pie and turned to his friends, “You know if we cut it while its still warm the chocolate will run?”
“CHRIS!” six men shouted back at him.
Laughing, the tough leader of team seven turned and cut a large slice of pie for each of his boys. As the blond looked around his crowded kitchen watching as the six other men laughed and basically wolfed down their pieces of pie the blond realized he was going to have to make more if they were to have any for tonight’s desert. Chris, however, found he didn’t really mind. The best part of eating the pies was sharing it with friends.
3 cups flour
1 level tsp salt
? cup shortening
Sift dry ingredients together. Work in shortening with knife or round edge of tablespoon. Moisten dough with water. Put out on lightly floured board and roll THIN. Put in pie plate and use back of fork to crimp edge around top.
1 cup sugar
6 LEVEL tblespoons flour
2 HEAPING tblespoons cocoa
Pinch of salt
2 cups of milk
2 eggs (separated)
1 tspn vanilla
Scald milk. Add dry ingredients. Stir quite often. Cook until thick, add egg YOKES and cook for one half minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into piecrust.
Beat the egg WHITES and add one-teaspoon sugar, beat until light and foamy. Spread on top of slightly cooled pie and bake 350 until light brown.