Wanna hear something blasphemously un-American?
I don't really like pumpkin pie.
I like just about anything pumpkin. And just about anything pie. But if I had an option I would pick almost anything over pumpkin pie. Much like how I enjoy root beer and ice cream but I can't stand them together.
Why don't we just stop here and talk about my odd food tendencies for a minute.
I don't like my mom's famous baked beans. I don't like my mom's famous apple jello. I don't like shrimp. I don't like raw fish but I prefer steak still a bit bloody. I like pizza with orange juice. I hate dippin' dots. I get the kids mac n cheese at least 50% percent of the time I go to Olive Garden (the other half being first dates). I like to eat microwaved cookie dough. And I like my eggs salmonella-danger-zone gooey.
Yeah. I think that about does it. Back to the pie.
I offered to make my host family some real American food for dinner tonight. I'm the 6th American they've had live with them and still the only American food they've had is McDonalds. And let me tell you, the Russian McD's is nothing like the American ones. People go here to chat. They have a classy cafe section with comfy armchairs and the most delicious looking desserts that are nothing like the apple pie we get shoved in a cardboard box. They have breaded shrimp instead of chicken nuggets for crying out loud.
So I made them a real American classic: tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Taught them how to cut the sandwich diagonally and dip it just they way you're supposed to.
Ok people, stop thinking I served them the stuff out of the can because I certainly did NOT. (Not that anything there's anything wrong with the canned kind. Besides the sodium content.) We went fresh and creamy for this one. I'm talking creamy. I told my host mom I needed whipping cream, imagining she'd bring back something like half and half, but the stuff she got me was too thick to pour.
But that's how you know it's good.
They told me it was the best soup they'd ever had, they wanted the recipe, and could I please make it again tomorrow?
Thanks, yes, and probably not.
Then Anya asked me about the pumpkin puree for dessert, because she saw me making puree from a fresh pumpkin the day before. She was moderately shocked to see that I had turned it into a pie while she was at work.
That's right, pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin. Believe me when I say it made all the difference in the world. Or was it the sweetened condensed milk? Sorry to all the pumpkin pies I've ever had, but this one takes the cake...uh, pie. The crust was definitely lacking, but the filling was the best I've ever had. If I do say so myself.
Their reaction was somewhere along the lines of "why didn't you tell us you could do this before?" I wonder how they'd feel if I make tequila chicken and flambeed it in front of them? Or better yet, vodka chicken?