Chocolate Submeringue Pies
By LaWanda Bailey
"…a cheerful heart has a continual feast."
Proverbs 15:15 (NASB)
In every mother's brain, tucked under the frontal lobe, lies a storage area called the Momflubbius. Her childrearing mistakes gather there and nag at her until she redeems them one-by-one. Guilt is a mother's burden. She spends the first half of her adult life praying she raises her kids right, and the last half grieving over things she did wrong. A mother never misses a chance to redeem herself.
I saw my chance when my adult children and I planned to gather spouses and children for a big family dinner. We would travel to my son's house, spend the night, and cook the next day's meal together. My Momflubbius churned. You didn't bake chocolate pies for your kids when they were young. "I'll make chocolate pies," I said, looking around to see if I was the one who had muttered those words. My children didn't flinch. Maybe they hadn't noticed that I had ruined their lives by failing to make chocolate pies.
I shopped for name-brand ingredients. They'll have a memory to clutch to their hearts when I'm gone, I thought as I bought two pie plates to frame my masterpieces. They'll see me whipping mounds of meringue while the filling bubbles on the stovetop.
Back at home, I packed the supplies for the trip and went to the Internet, where I found a site for perfect meringue. I took fastidious notes and left town to meet my destiny.
Early the next morning, I joined the family in the kitchen. I measured my ingredients and stirred away. When the liquid bubbled, I removed it from the heat like the recipe said. Hmmmm, looks pretty thin. I put it back on the burner. When the mixture didn't thicken, I became alarmed. My daughter suggested that it might set when we baked it with the meringue on top. My husband said we should freeze it.
The meringue fell, too heavy with the amount of sugar listed on the perfect meringue site, and my daughter-in-law remade it. She dropped the first spoonful onto the pie and caught her breath. "It sank," she announced. My creation was too weak to support egg whites and air. My son said, "You've made chocolate sub-meringue pie, Mom." After the topping fought its way to the top, we slid the plate into the oven. For the first time in my life, I said a prayer for a chocolate pie.
When the oven timer beeped, we crowded around, hovering like we were opening a secret family vault. I lifted the pie plate; chocolate sloshed over the side. The sub-meringue pie had torpedoed the baking theory. We put the other pie into the freezer, where it remained in a liquid state two hours later. My teenage grandson said, "Awesome! You've created a liquid that won't cook or freeze. Can I use it in my chemistry class?"
My daughter tasted the pie. "Chocolate soup," she said.
Although we laughed about the culinary catastrophe throughout the day, my Momflubbius was in distress. When it comes to being a mom, it prodded, you are pond scum.
I felt better when our four grandchildren gathered around the pie. They dipped out the topping, spooned the chocolate liquid over it, and said it tasted great. One of them broke off a piece of crust, dipped it into the concoction and said, "Look. Chocolate nachos."
My husband comforted me, "If the pies had turned out, we'd all have eaten a slice of pie and forgotten it. Look at how much fun we've had. We'll never forget today because of your chocolate pies."
So my kids finally have a memory of me making chocolate pies, though it wasn't the memory I had planned. Maybe it's more important that they remember me as a mom who
can laugh when things fall apart, a mom who loves the Lord, and a mom who loves them enough to try to make up for things left undone.
I learned one thing for sure: Meringue may sink, but God will keep us afloat.