Tuesday, March 15, 2011



Tonight reminded me of a day a year and a half ago, when I was feeling stressed and frustrated and alone, and I turned around and standing there, impossibly, was the one person I least expected but most wanted to see. That day, I was sitting in Hyde Park, frustrated with flat-hunting and desperately wanting advice, wanting to see a friendly face, and Alex came jogging by. In the biggest park in one of the bigger cities of the world, there she was when I needed her.

I'm pretty sure everyone wanted to come to my pie party, but all week people have been letting me know that they have to work late, or catch up on their studies, and this and that. I suspected that it was going to be a very small gathering, but I could at least count on my two flatmates and a couple others who said they'd definitely be coming, including a coworker who lives JUST down the road from me. Holly is in India, Tanya in Sri Lanka, Carina in Switzerland, Izzi and Tim at a wedding. I did not at all expect Alex to come. She's hard to pin down at the best of times, and as she is supposed to be leaving for 3 months in Tanzania soon, this is not the best of times. She sent me an email this morning saying that she had to go someplace after work and had stuff to sort out for Africa, but would try to come by after. This is Alex-speak for "see you in three months."

So I started baking this afternoon, not at all sure how many would make it. I was going to make two pies, a chicken pot pie using this crust recipe, and a homity pie. I got started at 4pm. At 6:40, while I was still working on the ingredients of the chicken pot pie, Flatmate One texted to say she needed to sort out her life and would not be coming. At 7pm, still slicing onions, Flatmate Two texted to say that she had been diagnosed with malaria and would not be coming (yikes!) I started taking pictures to document the utter failure that was my Pi(e) Day party.

Filling. Looks good, anyway.

Here's where things get dicey: the top pastry is hard as a rock!!
I almost threw out my shoulder trying to roll it flat.

No one else texted. Nobody at all. The time just kept ticking past, I kept working on my pies, secretly hoping no one would arrive because I was nowhere near having a pie ready for consumption. I became convinced that I would be eating them alone while watching an episode (or 3) of 30 Rock.

When my phone rang at 7:30, I expected it to be my coworker Laura, who I don't know very well and was a bit nervous to spend the evening alone with. But it was Alex, telling me she was downstairs and sorry she was late. It was beyond wonderful to see her. She brought mini steak and chicken pies from Marks and Spencers, and well as mashed potatoes!

Dinner for 10 became dinner for 1 became dinner for 2, and it was perfect. We watched Bridget Jones's Diary and pined after Mark Darcy.

But best of all, my pie was delicious! I even had a witness to vouch for it!

Concentrating really hard so as not to drop it.

I gave up halfway through the homity pie, but will finish it tonight and save it for lunches this week. I'm very proud of myself for making a pie, and a yummy one at that, but I feel weird about the evening. It was an almost complete and utter failure, but not in the way I expected. I've been telling people all week that I'm afraid of burning down the house or causing an outbreak of foodborne illness, but I didn't expect them to take that as a warning to stay away! I didn't even get to read out Becky's pie-ku's. :-(

Oh well. I had a perfect dinner with Alex and that's all that matters. And I have leftovers! AND I now know how to make a pie and don't need to be frightened of it anymore! I am INVINCIBLE!!!


  1. I'm sorry the evening didn't turn out as you planned, but the pie looks great!!

  2. I wish I could have sampled your cooking! The food looks delicious. Your dough could have been tough for a few reasons: you aren't using all-purpose flour or pastry flour OR you were working it too much OR your fridge is too cold. Did you try the plastic wrap trick?

  3. Go you for making the best of your circumstances. Throwing parties is always stressful, especially when you or many of your friends are far from home... wherever home is these days... I was going to ramble on dramatically about an awkward party I threw here recently for B's b-day, but let's just say I'm not as graceful as you in the face of people's attempts to anti-RSVPs. ANYWAYS... Is Alex coming to Dar or somewhere else in Tanzania? If she is coming to Dar, we'd love to see her. B & I don't have a lot of friends here, so I'd love to borrow one of yours for a few months!;) Cheers!!