Being as how it's Thanksgiving, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about moderation with regards to pie. But don't panic, I am NOT the dietitian/personal trainer/spouse trying to fill you with guilt about the decadent food you are probably going to eat no matter what they say. Feel free to gorge yourself with abandon on double-decker pumpkin pecan sweet potato cheesecake marmalade mousse cradled in crunchy, crusty deliciousness. But please LAY OFF THE HUMBLE PIE!
I know it's tempting. It's staring you down at the dessert table; perhaps not the yummiest or prettiest thing on the spread; it's the dish that "looks like it needs to be eaten." Maybe someone decided to rescue it from the day-old discounts, or maybe it was made from a mediocre mix, or maybe someone made a valiant effort to bake it from scratch but ended up miscalculating the ratios, burning the edges, or leaving the middle section cold and uncooked. You glance over to the far end of the table and see the dessert you really want to eat but stop yourself, thinking, "If I don't sympathize with this sad little slice, who the heck will?"
Allow me to let you in on a big, little secret. I have partaken of said pie on many, many occasions. It's a habit that haunts me in moments of weakness still. But I've also had the grand tour of the factory that makes this variety of pie, and YES it is a factory! The owners of the company are very manipulative and have a way of tailoring each pie to make it look like it was baked just for you. Truthfully, every pie that slides off the assembly line contains the same addictive, crappy quality ingredients that make you feel sick to your stomach, emotionally icky, and keep you coming back for more. People ask me, as they have all through my adolescent and adult life, "Are you an actor/writer/artist/fill-in-the-blank? What do you love? What do you want to do with your life?” The answer to the first question was most frequently, "I try..." The second question would have varying answers depending on the chapter in my life -- juggling, puppetry, and moviemaking to name a few. Whatever it happened to be, I would mumble, stammer, and swallow my words. As for the third question, you'd be lucky if you could hear my answer... if I was able to even utter it in the first place. I hear other people saying the same things -- "I'm learning..." or "I wouldn't dare to call myself that, but..." or "I can only begin to hope that someday I might be worthy to say..."
Can we cut the crap and own up to our awesome? If you are one of the 99.9% of Americans celebrating this holiday in the typical fashion, you will be stuffing your face with all sorts of decadent goodies. (If not, just go with me for a second...) Can you imagine, even for a moment, being equally indulgent with your own self worth? Let's take a second to turn the image around. Instead of being the person with the dessert plate in hand, visualize actually BEING the pie. How could you mix yourself, bake yourself, decorate yourself in a way that would make other people unable to resist piling their dessert plates high with you? Not because they feel obliged to; not because it's "just there"; but because the very sight, smell, and flavor of you sends them into spastic salivation.
Nice theory, right? Now, let's put it into practice. In what way are you irresistibly scrumptious, from baking to plating to smelling to tasting? What makes you the kind of pie every single dinner guest wants to sink their teeth into? And taking it one step further, what makes you so stupendous, you have all the people who claim your flavor isn't their a dessert of choice coming back for seconds and thirds?
Since I'm the one who came up with this crazy idea, I'll go first. You don't have to do more than one, but I'm challenging myself to three.
-First, this journal entry. I was totally planning on ditching the pie metaphor after Paragraph 1, but once I sat down to write it kept going and going. I had no idea at the start that eating the pie would transform into being the pie, but I rolled with it, and I feel delighted, excited, empowered by the way it turned out.
-Second, I recently recorded the music track for "If I Were a Robot," installment #4 of Ballads to the Buffy Big Bads. David Bickford, my friend and co-conspirator, worked wonders with the musical arrangement. He has made this project way cooler than anything I could have done on my own, but I'll let him sing his own accolades. Now, back to me. I'm a total nerd hottie who has mad skills writing kickbutt music and lyrics and rocks the living socks off of them when I perform. I'm especially proud of this song because it is triple-threateningly star-studded, with references to Star Wars, Star Trek: the Next Generation, and Battlestar Galactica. (My cameraman is away for the holidays so we will record it and reveal it in its full geeky glory once he returns next week.)
-The third one is the hardest to talk about but also the most important because it is less about what I'm doing and more about who I'm being. The other night, a friend of mine told me I was "painfully passionate." It was a deep compliment because he said it with such sincerity. In a way, we all want to be told those things, but what in the world do you do when somebody suddenly sees you, really sees you, and shows you the beautiful being you truly are? It was like he handed me a pod full of organic Madagascar vanilla beans. I know what to do with the artificial stuff, or the stuff sold in bottles that's watered down with alcohol, but in its pure, untainted form it’s almost too much to handle. But I know better than to conveniently throw it away. I will own it, absorb it, and incorporate it into my spectacular baked confection, and I -- along with the rest of the world -- will be all the richer because of it.
I really, really, REALLY want you to think about this and answer honestly to yourself. Take a few deep breaths. A moment of silence. See what comes to you, and spill it. Don't be shy; I wasn't. After all, it's not about you anyway; it's about giving it to all of us. Think of this as a virtual potluck. Even if you are reticent about your baking skills, we are all counting on you not to deny us our dessert!