Is it possible for a piece of furniture to be haunted?
Wait. Don’t answer that. Really. I want to be able to sleep within the next year.
The reason I ask is because a few weeks ago my mother showed up with a minivan full of furniture. (This is how I shop for housewares. Other people go to Ikea, I call my mom.)
One of the pieces of furniture she brought me was a kitchen island from my great grandmother’s kitchen. I never met her– my mother’s father’s mother — but from all accounts she was a no-nonsense, Midwestern lady. I suspect she was not the type to take kindly to picky eaters, and I can just imagine the reaction she might have to something like a kale quinoa smoothie.
The island has a porcelain top that’s nicked and bruised in a way that makes it clear that this thing is not meant to just sit around and look pretty. It is meant to work. Although it does look pretty — really pretty.
The bottom has a small cabinet, two utensil drawers and a metal bread drawer. This just tells you how much this thing is from a whole different era — back when carbs had their very own drawer and were not considered the devil.
Ever since the island has been in my kitchen, I’ve found myself wanting to cook hearty, old-fashioned, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meals — meatloaf covered in ketchup, thick egg noodles with sausage and gravy, and pie. Lots of pie.
Maybe it’s the ghost of my great grandmother inspiring me. Or maybe it’s because I finally have counter space after living in an apartment with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp for over two years. Or maybe it’s just because, well, PIE.
Either way, I found myself whipping up chicken pot pies twice recently. I feel my great grandmother would have approved of the meal although I’m not so sure she would have approved of my method.
For example, I did not go out and kill and pluck the chicken myself like my great grandmother probably did. In fact, I didn’t even cook it. I left that up to the rotisserie geniuses at Meijer.
And as much as I pride myself on making a pretty mean pie crust, I went with the pre-made crust this time. Because, seriously, who’s got time to mess around with pie crust — besides, maybe, the Pillsbury dough boy who seems to have all the time in the freaking world. I mean, will you look at that carefree look on his face? That’s the look of someone who doesn’t check his work email on his cell phone at 12 o’clock at night.
Oh, and I used a recipe from The Pioneer Woman that only called for one crust — a top crust — instead of both a top and a bottom crust. Usually, I would be opposed to any recipe that skimps on pie crust because there never can be enough crust in my opinion, but if a blog with the word “pioneer” in the title says it’s okay, it’s okay.
And I do have to say there is something deeply satisfying and homey about rolling the top pie crust over a casserole dish full of vegetables, chicken bits and broth. It felt like I was tucking it in to bed for a long night’s sleep. Except it was going to be sleeping in my oven. At 375 degrees. Which is probably not a good temperature for sleeping.
Despite all my shortcuts, I have to say when I pulled out the pot pie all crackly and golden, I had to think that my great grandmother would have been proud.
Or at least I was proud. Not proud enough to stop myself from shoveling crackly pie crust directly into my face. But still pretty darn proud.
What go-to meal do you make when you’re in the mood for something hearty and stick-to-the-ribs… or when the ghosts in your furniture is forcing you to do so?