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Lady Pastor: Hand mixer plus egg whites plus sugar equals happiness

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I never thought I'd say the following four words: I made a pie. Homemade. It started mid-evening on Friday. There was a new and sudden desire in my heart.

"I'm going to make a pie!" I proclaimed to the kitchen.

I was expecting some company at my house the next day. Historically, I have never provided homemade baked goods for guests. But my mom often does. And my Grandma Verona always did, too. I felt inspired to become a hospitable hostess and carry on the family tradition. The moment had finally arrived, just 30 years in the making. Pie time.

Thankfully, I didn't have to look far for a recipe. I collect cookbooks. Why? I'm not sure. I like them in theory more than in practice. Older, used cookbooks strike my fancy most of all. They carry so much history and experience. I reached way up in the cupboard and located The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 1953 edition.

Now it was time to decide. What kind of pie?

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Feeling brave, I decided on lemon meringue. Next stop: Fareway. I needed to buy lemons, butter, and eggs. Amazingly, the other ingredients were already waiting in the pantry for an occasion such as this.

As I wandered through the grocery store aisles, my heart was pitter-pattering with excitement. "I'm making a pie tonight!" I wanted to say to every single person I encountered (but somehow held my tongue).

At the checkout counter, Danika was working. She's a terrific high school student and church member. "What are you up to tonight?" she asked. Dear Danika! So kind! I was hoping she'd ask.

"I'm making my first pie."

"I did that once," she said with a grin.

"Awesome! That's amazing! What kind?" Since she was clearly a pie pro, I hoped she'd share some wisdom.

"Strawberry rhubarb. It wasn't pretty, but it tasted good."

It was a nice dose of encouragement. Even if my pie did not win for most photographic, perhaps it would still be mildly edible.

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Back at home, the process of getting all the ingredients on the counter made me feel a twinge anxious. I wanted to back out and watch old episodes of "Dawson's Creek" instead. But no. It was pie time and there was no backing out.

I followed all the instructions for the recipe. This, in itself, was a major feat. Water, sugar and cornstarch. Stir it together nonstop for awhile over heat, add some lemony goodness, and poof — pie filling! There was a lot of shrieking with joy throughout the process.

The meringue-making was exciting, too. Who knew? A hand mixer plus egg whites plus sugar equals happiness.

As the pie cooked in the oven, I decided it was time to tell the universe. After sufficiently documenting the pie via email, Facebook, text message and Instagram, I paused for a realization moment. I'd overlooked something in all the excitement.

I was actually not the first person to ever make a pie.

For many generations, dedicated, loving women and men have been making pies. Their baking experiences probably didn't get described in detail. Photos likely went unsnapped. They may or may not have received affirmation for their hard work. But they made the pies anyway because they loved to feed something delicious to their friends and families.

I hope I told Grandma how much I loved it when she made her amazing pies. Strawberry rhubarb. Graham cracker. Apple. I hope I said thanks.

I know I've only made one pie so far, but I have a strong feeling that this is just the start of a joyful new Friday night tradition.

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The Lady Pastor is a weekly column by Emily Carson, a Lutheran pastor in Stewartville. Visit her blog at: theladypastor.com.

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