With a little help from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, I made my first-ever real lattice-top pie last week.
Their pie crust recipe is just about right, and their instructions, while fussy, do ensure a good result. I used my ruler and pizza wheel to measure and cut the strips for the top, then froze them as the book directed, which definitely made them easier to handle.
Pies are a lot of work, but I find them fun to make (although transferring the pastry to the pan is always a bit nerve-wracking). Sometimes I just need a cooking project that takes longer than half an hour (and with all the peach peeling and cutting and pastry making and freezing and baking and cooling, this project took a good five hours. Perfect.
As I was making this pie, I wondered to myself why in the world I was spending so long doing something that would be gone so soon, and why I felt fulfilled by it. What came to mind was a talk given by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of our church in 2008. He said:
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.
You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”
If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.
If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.
You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.
If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it. . . .
As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.So I'm going to start giving myself more license to create. It doesn't have to be perfect; it doesn't even have to be useful. Certainly we could survive on beans and rice: lattice-top pies might be considered frivolous and unnecessary. But cooking is one of the ways that I create. It makes my happy and I think my family enjoys the results as well. So I hereby give myself permission to enjoy cooking, and to spend more time than is strictly necessary on dinner, and indulge in a few frills now and then.