One year ago today, I was working on a film set in Connecticut. I had been living there for all of a week’s time, having just relocated after my previous film job, How Do You Know, wrapped in Philadelphia. Mind you, two days before How Do You Know was officially over, I received a call for the next.
“Andrea, we’re starting up another job in Connecticut. Are you available?”
I was happy, it was Tuesday, Thanksgiving was just a blink away, I had a pumpkin spice cheesecake in the oven…all was right in the world. Enthusiastic, I said, “Absolutely, when should I be there?”
And so I packed up my belongings, all 56,897 of them, not entirely sure which starched button-down of Connecticut suburbia we would be filming in. The good thing about such time crunched caravans, I find, is that there is no time to be indecisive, not a moment to spare wondering if you’d rather live here than there. My experience with film work has always been: “you have 58 seconds to move to [fill in state name here], city to be decided, we’ll see you on Monday! Oh, and please have the set erected, mmmk? Thanks!” Dial tone.
Hollywood does not hesitate.
I settled into a beige wall-to-wall carpeted one bedroom, mapped out every Starbucks location within a 40 mile radius, and began work the following week. I like to think ‘tornado’ describes the feeling of that particular sequence of events best.
Not a week into work, I was met by the eve of Thanksgiving. Theee Wednesday of the year. I worked my usual 12 hour shift, drove back to my apartment by 8pm, cranked my oven temp to 350ºF, and set about baking 4 pies, a batch of Congo Bars, a pan full of Caramel Cashew Bars, and an autumn salad with goat cheese and cranberries. And the next morning, goods belted as preciously as babies in the backseat, I drove home to Massachusetts to feast with my family.
Pumpkin Spice Custard Pie , Nantucket Cranberry Walnut Pie, Coconut Custard Pie, and Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel Topping. I could pen love letters to each of them.
But here’s the more telling part: as mad as this seems, the year before I had baked twelve pies.
Let’s both take a minute to recuperate.
Besides making a fairly substantiated case for my admittance to a stark white mental ward, what’s the point of all of this?
Well, this year I’m in Seattle, and for the first time in my 25 year life, I’m thousands of miles away from my big family on Thanksgiving. I’ll miss them, I’ll miss the fact that the dessert table is equally as stuffed as the one featuring savory fare, I’ll miss the requisite slice of each and every pie, and I’ll even miss my neurosis about baking them from scratch all through the night.
And so…scattered throughout this post are the holiday desserts that are filling the void for me so far this year. Click on any of the links to view the recipes.
I hope that tomorrow you’ll be with your family, eating with the widest smile your mouth allows, and considering pie as both an appetizer and a dessert.