Peter, Joseph and Judah peel 24 apples on the back deck.
A truly awesome element of this year's Thanksgiving preparation is how willingly my sons and their friends jumped in to assist. Granted, the workers who live with me will soon have the great enjoyment of actually eating these pies, but the others volunteered just as readily (if not more so) without any promise of tasting the rewards of their labor. These are top-notch friends, worthy Boy Scouts, faithful Christians, and the kind of people for whom we are truly grateful as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
Our failed attempt to contain the mess!
Enoch prepares the peeled apples.
Transporting 10+ pies, 4 pounds of fresh cranberry sauce, 1 table, and 7 people 500 miles round trip in one day for a dinner party sounds insane! But this is no ordinary dinner, this is Thanksgiving dinner; our extreme measures will be well worth the effort. One of the greatest perks this year will be meeting Aileen and Rob's brand new baby boy, Samuel John, on his third day of life outside the womb!
Prior to par-baking the apple pie filling, Peter tosses the mixture.
Peter doses the pumpkin pie seasoning with cinnamon.
The biggest fiasco in our pie baking marathon nearly claimed two pumpkin pies. I hastily dumped a double batch of pumpkin pie mix into the waiting crusts before realizing that the key ingredients (sugar and spices pre-mixed by Peter on Monday) were missing. I attempted to pour the pumpkin goo back into the mixing bowl, but the pie crust slipped in as well. Messy, but not disastrous. The second calamity occurred when two of the three apple pies oozed over while baking, the burning syrup setting off a set of screeching smoke alarms. The delicious smell of apple pies was instantly replaced with the raspy odor of burned sugar, and the efforts to air out the place helped lower the interior temperature by a few degrees. Brrr!
Zachary (oh so willingly) helps measure the pecan pie ingredients.
Zachary's main contribution to the cooking effort included shopping for a few of the last minute ingredients and driving the morning shuttle so I could stay home and bake uninterrupted. He willingly measured the pecan pie sugar and syrups and although he snarled for the photo (above), he cooperated willingly. Tim gave the boys a pep talk encouraging them to do whatever I asked of them in order to make the pie baking fruitful. Those are words I love to hear, "Do whatever Mom tells you!"