Strawberry Pie and Sharing Recipes
By Chef Deb Traylor
I recently wrote a post about “borrowing” recipes. Today I’d like to discuss “sharing” recipes. Most chefs will tell you they've “borrowed” recipes from their peers, mentors or from restaurants where they’ve worked. It’s part of life in a kitchen. It’s impossible not to use the information you’ve learned from the cooks with whom you work, as each recipe builds on the culinary knowledge you already possess. Eventually, what you know, and what you’ve gleaned from observing or working with others, cannot be separated. Borrowed recipes are eventually changed or modified to suit the cook’s own personal style. You borrow a recipe, you change it, and you move on.
On the other hand, shared recipes tend to remain as they were given. It is somehow a little more “special,” when someone hands you a cherished family recipe or a dish they consider their signature. Shared recipes somehow taste better. We see the love in them. We would never think of changing them because we want to respect the person who gave us this gift.
A few days ago, I attempted to make “Earlene’s Strawberry Pie” from a recipe card written in Ginger’s mom Earlene’s own handwriting. Granted, I didn't flatter myself into thinking I could duplicate this pie and have the same results as Earlene did. But as I made it, I did imagine the love and care she put into each step. I remember Ginger telling me Earlene always used the strawberries that she and her husband, Roy, would grow in their garden. When she was “fixin’ to make a pie,” Earlene would send Roy out to the garden and he’d eat as many strawberries as he would pick, so they were never sure if there’d be enough for a pie when he made it back to the kitchen. Then Earlene would put those fresh, juicy strawberries into the pie and once it had set, Roy would top his slice with a big old spoonful of Cool Whip and dig in.
What I love is that Ginger not only shared the recipe, but she shared its story. In fact, when you ask Ginger about “Earlene’s Strawberry Pie,” you’ll see the happiness in her face when she tells you about this particular family recipe. Who would dare to alter this kind of shared recipe? I certainly wouldn’t. Shared recipes are a gift, and once given will remain just as they were intended, as a reminder of love, care and the happiness they gave.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Ginger wanted to share her mom’s Strawberry Pie recipe. It is special, and I hope you make it just as it was shared.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Earlene's Strawberry Pie
- 4 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 (3 oz) box strawberry Jell-O (don’t use sugar free)
- 1 1/2 quarts strawberries
- 1 (8 to 9-inch) baked pie crust
- whipped cream, for serving
Combine cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Add water, stir well and bring to a boil. Simmer until mixture is thick and clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Jell-O until fully incorporated. Cool until just about set and fold in strawberries. Spoon into prebaked crust and refrigerate until pie is set and can be cut cleanly. Serve with freshly whipped cream. Or Cool Whip.