In any case, I decided to test the recipe. This was a last minute decision. It was 4:00 p.m. and I was heading to a potluck that began at 6:30 p.m.
I made good time on my trip home from work in order to make a quick stop at the neighborhood grocery store to get the essentials (read: Ritz Crackers).
By 5:30 p.m. I am "assembling" the pie, which includes simmering a ghastly amount of sugar (2 cups), and shaving a lemon. The sugar mixture has to cool before you pour it over the crackers and running short on time I stuck it in the freezer with a large metal spoon in it to help draw out the heat.
At 6:15 p.m. in a bit of a hurry and muddled by disbelief, I crumble a tube of Ritz Crackers into a premade pastry shell and pour the 2 cups of somewhat-cool liquid over it. It is incredibly soupy. Undeterred I roll out the second pie shell and haphazardly cover the “pie.” Liquid oozes out. Hm. Can this be right??
I pull out a large roasting pan to port my uncooked pie and amble down to the street, now late. Even though I’ve covered the pie in tinfoil, sugar-water is escaping and sloshing all over the sides of the pan. As I make the four-block trek I politely steer my curious burden around groups of neighbors along the sidewalk.
Now, this potluck has a very high purpose. I regularly break bread with this group of women who have committed to making a monthly donation to four nonprofits working to alleviate global poverty. We do this despite the fact that none of us are wealthy and several are in job transitions. (Want to know more? Read about us in this Monitor article "A spiritual approach to money", Feb. 1, 2009.) Guilt settled in as I sloshed my way up the steps to the dinner. After all, this group believes in fair trade, buying produce in season, and shopping locally. One friend is actually a farmer, another grows food for inner city school kids.