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Tamale Pie Faux Pas


I gathered the ingredients together and placed them on the counter top so as not to forget anything.

It was easy…I’d made the recipe a 1,000 times. What could go wrong with our tried and true family recipe of Tamale Pie?

t was then that I noticed that the wood floors needed dusting, so I got out the Swiffer and went over them lightly. Because all the kitchen chairs were now sitting around the long table in the family room, I noticed scuff marks under the table. So, I got out the floor polisher and gave the parquet squares a once over, removing any evidence that I’d had a dinner party last Friday night.

Then I set the table with napkins and silverware. I got out the crystal wine glasses and set them on the bar in the kitchen. Richie had purchased Martinelli’s Rasberry N.A. Wine and it was chilling in the refrigerator.

I put the floor polisher back in the closet in the hallway, and as I glanced across the hall I remembered I hadn’t tidied up that bathroom. I quickly changed the towels, got out some small guest towels to place on the counter, and swished the throne a bit.

It seemed like one thing led to another, and I was feeling the need for rest. A heating pad on my back, a cup of tea, anything to rejuvenate me. But first things first!

I browned the onions, set them aside then crumbled the hamburger into the skillet browning it lightly as I chunked it down into small bits. I put the onions back in, added the other ingredients, simmered it for 30 minutes, thickened it with cornmeal and turned it out into a nice looking casserole. I dotted the top with ripe, pitted black olives. It looked good. I placed it in the refrigerator for overnight. I would bake it Sunday afternoon.

I still had to post the recipe to the Lifestory list. I had mentioned to them the day before that I was going to plug my stove back in and have the family for Mother’s Day dinner. Today I would share the recipe.

Just then, Richie called from the computer. “Come here, Thelly, you need to look at this.”

I ran down the spiral stairs wondering what could be so important.

“Take a look at this…I found it on Google.”

There on the screen was a place setting of silverware. That’s all.

“Notice that the knife blades are pointing toward the plate,” he said.

“I’ve known that since Junior High, they teach that in Home Economics!” I said.

“Well, you didn’t do it. I was just up there and some of the knives are pointing toward the outside.”

I felt like I was back in Kindergarten. I trudged up the stairs and turned the knives over. Big deal! I didn’t even have plates on the table, yet. I decided he’s been on way too many cruises with all the fancy table settings. My confidence was slipping away at the same speed as my energy.

I went back down stairs to post the recipe to the Lifestory list.

“I’m going to the store, is there anything you need?” he asked, turning to go up.

“Banana’s…” I said, “that’s all.”

I began typing the Tamale Pie Recipe for my friends on Lifestory.

About the time I was ready to send it, I read it one more time to be sure I hadn’t made any errors.

Oh, my gosh! I hadn’t made any errors *typing* it. It was O. K. to send. My error was in my own Tamale Pie in the refrigerator!

I had forgotten to add the Creamed Corn.

I hit the *send* button and ran upstairs.

My first thought was “Who’ll know the difference?” My second thought was, “Too much trouble,” and my third thought and the most powerful was, “Nothing short of right is right…It wasn’t too much trouble…I would know!”

I quickly got the casserole out of the refrigerator, picked the olives off the top and dropped them in a colander. I hurriedly washed them under running water and let them drain. I poured the Tamale Pie back into the skillet, then I opened a can of Creamed Corn and poured it into the mixture. This was the first time I had ever added Creamed Corn to it so late in the process…it was hard to do because the pie had already thickened, it had a mind of its own.

Then I poured the Tamale Pie back into the casserole, retrieved the olives from the colander and dotted them over the top and placed it back in the refrigerator. Whew!

Nobody would ever be the wiser. Especially not Richie who was off at the store.

Mother’s Day was great. The sun was shining. Everyone was congenial. I didn’t forget to put anything on the table. The food I’d prepared was hot, good, and filling. We were bonding with one another so much better at home than we would have in a noisy restaurant.

“Ya done good!” my son said, “I haven’t had Tamale Pie in ages…it tastes just like it used to!” What was wrong?

Nagging at me was the need to say “I blew it…the Tamale Pie wasn’t perfect…at least not the first time around, your mother is getting old and forgets little things.”

The family went back to the food table for seconds. I waited for an opportune moment to share my faux pas, but it never came. Suddenly it was time for dessert. Granddaughter, Krishell, did the honors since she had made a Keebler Decadent Chocolate Pie and a Fresh Peach Cobbler.

Then we exchanged cards and gifts. I conned myself into believing that it was too happy a time to wreck it with the Creamed Corn Caper.

What it became was a reason for a story. Now you know. As nicely as I pulled off Mother’s Day for the family, it wasn’t without its fractious moments. The old adage still applies… if you don’t use it you lose it!

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