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  Updated 1-2-08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Do You Get When You Cross...?

By Mike Bay

This is almost a true story.  I say almost, so I can (hopefully) avoid a visit by the EPA, a reader's HAZMAT reclamation husband, and a team of inspectors led by the UN's version of Bozo the Clown, Hans Blix.
 
Readers have oft-times heard about my serious dysfunction in the kitchen.  Proof of which was recently renewed when I, while boiling water for pasta, set off the smoke alarms in my humble, suffering abode.
Boiling water setting off smoke alarms?  How much more proof can one need, but I digress.
 
At any rate, and despite a reputation from childhood of being Chef Boy R Dee-structive, I still take occasional potluck shots at something different.  Most recently, trying to get myself into something akin to holiday mode, I thought I'd make a pie.  I mean, how hard can it be to make a pie?  Hostess makes tons of 'em.  So does Sara Lee, Mrs. Smith, Marie Callendar and cows.
 
Years ago, a niece -- too young to grasp my abysmal lack of culinary acumen -- once asked me "how do you make punkin pie?"  My immediate response -- "start out by getting it a math degree" -- got me a resounding *BONK* with a roll of Xmas wrapping paper from my sister.
 
Knowing my own limitations, I called the family expert on the making of really good pies:  Ma.  After being chided for not calling often enough, I asked her how she made a punkin pie.  After telling me how she made a pie, she curiously asked me why I wanted to know.  I told her I was going to make one.  After a moment of stunned, deafening silence, she said "in that case, don't forget the fire hose".
 
Some kids' parents.
 
Last Christmas, a local radio show sports clown made mention of making "punkin pie in the can", using a Boboli for the crust.  Apart from horrifying Betty Crocker and Pizza Hut, one other unintended consequence resulted:  I heard about it.
 
Now one so void of culinary talent as I am, you'd think would steer soooooooo clear of this idea.  But I got to fauxthinking:  what about the guy who invented pizza?  Did he know what would result, before he made and tried the very first pizza?  How worse off we'd be, if innovators shied away from trying something new and different, because it was unfamiliar to them?
 
All the great visionary ground breakers incur some risks enroute to great discoveries and creations.  Absolutely none of which applied here.  
 
I went to my local grocery to purchase the necessary elements of my own ground-breaking creation, giving little thought to what might happen if I dropped it and it broke ground to the center of the Earth.  The clerk -- she knows me on sight, and vociferously denies it to all within earshot -- raised an eyebrow at my combination of canned punkin, other ingredients, and Boboli crust, and despite knowing better, dared to ask me what I was doing:
 
Me:  "I'm going to make a punkin pizza pie!"
 
Her:  *rolls eyes* "Gawd..."
 
Back home, I cleared the decks (aka, got all the other flammables out of the kitchen), and began the laborious process of preparing my sure-to-be award-winning/summons-receiving creation.  I measured, mixed, beat, stirred, splattered, colorfully metaphored, prepped, and finally ladled my punkin pizza pie creation atop the crust, careful not to let any spill on a hot surface in case of a combustibility factor I'd not thunk of.  Into the oven it went at 350 degrees, and I confidently set the timer for 60 minutes.
 
At the end of 60 minutes -- actually, a few minutes before that -- I knew it was done:  the smoke alarms were in full hue and cry, and I'd already opened the patio door to vent some of the billowing fog so I could see my way back into whatever was left of the kitchen.
 
It was done, alright.  So might be the ability of the self-cleaner on the oven to cope with the aftermath, but that's for later, and after I remember this time to disconnect the smoke alarms first.
 
Naturally, never one to leave well enough alone, I had to sample it to see if the aroma was indicative of the taste.
 
It was; trust me.
 
Thus I dubbed my creation punkin pizza pie con carnage.  Kids, don't try this at home. 
 
Or in anyone else's'.

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Mike Bay is a free-lance humor writer born in Iowa, subsisting in Colorado. He has parental and other ancestral links on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.  Read more of his humor on his website Out of Thin Air.

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