It doesn’t happen very often.
In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to pull an original prank on my boys like I did that one glorious Thanksgiving. It was shear genious and completely unplanned. The opportunity presented itself and, for once, I recognized it and owned it.
It lasted for two days.
You see … I am guilty of the following phrase when I make substitutions in recipes:
You won’t be able to tell the difference.
Yes, they can. And they always do. They have their father’s discerning taste buds.
Before I tell you the story, you must know that pumpkin pie is not just a traditional dessert at our house. It is sacred. The whipped cream is just as sacred. My husband must have homemade and our youngest has a life-long obsession with the kind he can spray directly into his mouth. Anyway …
Two years ago (the “boys” were 24 and 19), I was doing my Thanksgiving meal prep work the day before the feast. I was cooking sweet potatoes. One of the boys walked in the kitchen, took one look at the sweet potatoes, wrinkled up his nose, and said:
What are you making?
Sweet Potato Pie!
Because I am going to prove to you guys, that you cannot taste the difference
between pumpkin and sweet potatoes! I am making one pumpkin pie and
one sweet potato pie and you have to try them both.
Our house is never quiet but panic was setting in. Not panic that they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Panic because there was only going to be ONE pumpkin pie!
By the time the boys were up and ready for church the next morning, both pies were baked. They were gorgeous! They looked exactly alike. The boys started to get nervous.
They sniffed them. They questioned me over and over if I was sure I knew which one was which. My father-in-law arrived for the meal, which we devoured. The boys had filled him in on the pie situation. I very carefully cut the pies into thin slices and laid a slice of each on everyone’s plate, being very careful to put one on the right side and the other on the left. The boys have never taken so long to eat dessert. They were examing the texture and concentrating on the flavors. My father-in-law glanced at me and gave me a little smile.
He figured it out.
When the boys had finally made their guesses, they were not as certain as they thought they’d be. There was fear of having to admit that mom was right. Or, maybe, it was fear that mom would start substituting sweet potatoes in all of their favorite pumpkin recipes. Doesn’t matter … there was fear.
They are both pumpkin.
My father-in-law started laughing. The boys didn’t.
But what about the sweet potatoes you were cooking?!?!
I pointed to the sweet potato casserole that had been passed around the table during the meal.
The looks on their faces? Priceless!
They started laughing, dug into the pie with typical gusto, and gave thanks that there was going to be a lot of leftover pumpkin pie after all.