Smoke Gets In Your Eyes… That’s How You Know Lunch Is Done

This is atypical.

Moms may get sick last, but we are not supposed to get sick longest. I swear it is in the handbook, right after that bit about no longer being obligated to eat the oatmeal you make everyone else eat and before the part where you are suddenly imbued with a mysterious and detailed knowledge of exactly how every household corner will end in blood. I would give you a page number, but there has been a newer edition since I got mine and the numbers don’t line up anymore. I hear in the new one you learn how to microchip your kids in their sleep. Mine just taught me how to work the velcro on those boingy leashes you strap to toddler wrists.

It has been suggested to me that the reason I am remaining less amongst the living than I would prefer is because I have in fact contracted a virus that rhymes with schmovid (not looking to get cancelled or arrested here by speaking disrespectfully of a world power. Y’all are so lucky I did not start writing this a year ago, you don’t even know). I wouldn’t know. I gave up trying to get my illnesses to name and claim years ago.

But whatever the cause, as I fuddled and fuzzied (seriously? Fuddled doesn’t get a red squiggly correction line and fuzzied does? The world is making even less sense to me than usual) my way through the day, it became obvious that chicken pot pie was the answer to whatever question was prodding at my brain that I just couldn’t quite put a finger on. Well… that or cocoa puffs. But I wasn’t willing to share cocoa puffs and the people needed lunch, so I set to work on what we shall now call (albeit for the first time) Marme’s Famous Chicken Pie.

It is a recipe scribbled on the back of something, I can’t honestly tell what it was anymore, told to me over the phone one day after the Quail had been encamped at Grandmarme’s house and had apparently eaten copious amounts of the chicken pie in question. My Quail eating copious amounts of anything was something to write home about and back then, I was young and foolish enough to believe that if she had hit upon foods that they liked at her house, I could make the same thing at my house and they would eat it!

Snort. What an amatuer.

This theory led me to buy bananas, to cut grapes in half, to cook piles of peas and frozen Costco meatballs, to rename existing foods things like “Grandpa sausage” — all to no avail. I could have hosted my own rejected food yard sale, like that thing the ambitious, if not naive, millenials came up with where you pay extra to buy “ugly fruit”. I would tip my cap to the capitalism of the thing, but ironically, that wasn’t what they were going for, so I think I’ll let my head stay warm on that one.

The magic ingredient is Marme. Duh. So instead, I just had to plan regular trips to Grandmarme’s house every couple of months so no birds starved to death on my watch. What I paid in gas I more than made up for in my grocery budget.

Regardless, it is the finest and simplest of chicken pies and there is something soothing about both the making and baking of this pie. Chopping the carrots and celery, stirring the roux for the gravy, even her mysterious oil crust which goes against everything I believe about pie crusts, and yet is perfect in the recipe — it is cathartic and ideal when sick, especially if you have the good fortune to be sick on a rainy day (which I currently do).

But then I put the dang thing in the oven.

It matters not what dish I use — large rectangular casserole, deep dish pie pan, square cake pans, there is no such thing as big enough to prevent overflow in the oven. I cannot understand it. And yet, do I remember to put a cookie sheet beneath the pie? Of course not. How would I know it was done if the pie itself were not sending up frantic and billowing smoke signals? What’s that? A timer? As if you could hear a timer over all these fire alarms going off. Silly rabbit.

So here on the coldest day in October we have had yet, I am sitting freezing my toes off with all the doors and windows open and a fan blowing the faintly chicken scented clouds of smoke into the great outdoors. My neighbors may well marvel — didn’t the rain just get rid of this smoke? Yes. Well. Must be global warming.

Or… an object lesson.

When the man Lazarus died, Jesus waited. He waited 2 extra days before going to wake him up, before knocking down death’s door and telling His friend to haul out, he didn’t belong there. The thing is, the chicken pie always tastes fantastic, smoke not withstanding. Just because there is smoke doesn’t mean there isn’t something wonderful being prepared. If you look about your life today and all you can see is smoke, go back to what you KNOW — He is not finished with you, you darling pie, beloved of the Lord. When you cannot see His face through the smoke, trust His heart. He is crafting you to bring Him glory, to bring you greater delight in Him… and He is using the fires of affliction.

If all you see is smoke, take heart. Chicken pie is coming. And it will be GLORIOUS.

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