Juleigh Howard-Hobson

Is This The Recipe You're Using?

“Invalidation is about dismissing your experiences, thoughts and above all your emotions. Indeed the intention is to not even allow you to have those thoughts, experiences and emotions. It’s a way of invading your head and reprogramming it. It’s psychological abuse (messing with your thoughts) and emotional abuse (messing with your feelings).” 

– Danu Morrigan

Perry Pie. Is this the recipe you’re using? Perry Pie? Why do they call it that when they could call it what it is? Pears. Then people would know what it was. Fancy names don’t mean anything. Usually they don’t taste that good either.

Ingredients. Some things in this world just belong together. They don’t even have to be that much like each other. But they get along. Things that get along. That like to be around each other. Some things are good for each other. Things that bring out the best in each other. They don’t have to stand out. They blend.

3 ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced thinly, lengthwise. Pears are old trees by the time they have fruit on them. They know what they are doing. They’re pretty smart that way. The thing is, people think they know better. People try to shape them. People who weren’t even around when the pear trees were planted. And…wanting them sliced thin and lengthways – why mess around like that? All that finicky crap doesn’t add anything to the taste of the pears, it just makes the person doing it feel like they are improving on just cutting them. Trying to show off. You can’t improve on the basics. Why don’t people like things the way they are without always trying to change everything? Lengthwise is a stupid way to cut anything.

¼ cup butter, melted. Butter is expensive. If you want to piss your money away why not buy things already made? Margarine is easier to use. Margarine doesn’t go bad. Margarine was what the Danes used all through World War Two when the Nazis stole the fresh milk. Margarine tastes the same anyway. Or use oil if you want it melted. Saves a whole glass dish. Or a pot if you can’t use the microwave because some people think they are too good for things like that.

1/3 cup white sugar. Why do they have to say white sugar like there’s any other kind you would use? Everyone knows what it means when it says sugar. Anyway, no one eats sugar these days. It’s all that stevia junk or honey. How do you put honey in a recipe? It’s sticky and it doesn’t cook up right. Of course if you want to be healthy you wouldn’t make anything like this anyway. But only a third of a cup of sugar isn’t enough. Unless you use really ripe pears. But you don’t get them in the supermarket like that. They are all green and hard these days. If they’re soft they’re going bad already. You can put them in a paperbag. But people always forget them.

1 tablespoon brown sugar. What kind of amount is that for sugar? Why bother? People can use a little more regular sugar if they want it sweeter. But putting in a spoon of just this little bit of brown? That’s just being fiddly for fiddly sake. No one can taste it. They can make their own brown sugar with molasses anyway. They could just put in molasses. But only if people keep molasses around. No one has molasses around anymore. Who uses stuff like that? People who go to places that sell organic crap and those fancy heirloom pears, huh? It’s all a waste of money. You can’t think people are stupid enough nowadays.

1/3 cup flour. They say white sugar, why don’t they say white flour? Maybe it can be any flour. Then you can use bran or oats instead. That would be better anyway. People like oats in things. They go good with pears. Like a granola or whatdoyoucallit…a crumble. This is like a pear crumble. If they don’t use flour then it’s gluten free too. Your uncle is gluten free. You should see if he likes this kind of pie. He doesn’t get much pie these days. But who likes pear pie anyway? When you think of pie no one thinks about pears. Pretty stupid. Somebody probably made this recipe to use up pears because apples would be better. Or cherries.

2 teaspoons vanilla. They don’t say what kind of vanilla. Real vanilla is really expensive. The imitation vanilla is just about as good though. Plus with pears you don’t really need good vanilla. No one is going to eat it and wonder if the vanilla is extract or imitation, they’re just going to taste the pears anyway. Pears have that taste. Two teaspoons seems a lot, too. Kind of overpowering.

3 eggs. They say that you can use applesauce instead of eggs. Or maybe that’s instead of oil. But they don’t have oil in this recipe. 3 eggs is a lot. How big is the pie pan? Eggs come in different sizes. There should be an average size egg that people use. They should say it on the carton. Average eggs. You got large ones. Just use 2. Three is too many. This way if it doesn’t taste good you won’t waste another large egg.

¾ cup milk. Your grandmother always used evaporated milk. From a can. People use soy milk or almond milk these days. You could use coconut milk. That’s from a can too. But ¾ of a cup means you have to save some of the can for something else. It’s always something. You could use powdered milk. But it’s hard to measure it right for ¾ of a cup. A whole cup is easier. This recipe probably took a whole cup once, but people changed it. No one drinks milk like they used to when milk was delivered every day. Pretty soon the recipes won’t have milk in them. Or they’ll say a can of coconut milk or something like that. Things change.

Pinch of salt. Salt is important. But not too much. Too much is as bad as not enough. You gotta have the right amount. When they say a pinch it means just a little. But it’s hard to know how much. Why don’t they say 1/8 of a teaspoon, they say ¾ cup of milk?

Small amount of butter for buttering pie pan. This should be up higher on the recipe so you know to save some of the butter you put in. Or the margarine. They could just say to use the paper that it comes wrapped in. People throw them out with margarine still on them. Then they buy spray oils special. Pissing their money away.

Method: There’s always a way they want you to do it. So they can sell the cookbook. Usually it’s stupid. Room temperature this, chilling that and putting things here and then there. All that stuff they write. People don’t cook anymore. No one knows how to do anything.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. There used to be a way to tell if your oven was hot enough by putting your hand in. Then they got thermometers. Now all the ovens have to be 350. You notice that? My oven takes a while to get there. It’ll say 400 but it’s really 350. Thank god or nothing would cook right, right?

Butter a 9 inch pie pan. There used to be nice sized metal pans that people used but no one uses them anymore. It’s all this silicone now. Silicone isn’t good. And 9 inches seems too small. Maybe use a square brownie pan. Then you can use the oats and make it a crumble.

Arrange pear slices evenly in pan (they can overlap). Just chop them next time. Save you a lot of time. And they won’t move around so much. Some raisins would be nice with them too. You coat them in flour so they don’t float. They have nice golden raisins. They would give this some flavor.

Whisk the butter, sugars, flour, vanilla, eggs, milk and salt until they are smooth. The thing about whisks is that they are hard to clean. Use a blender. Then you can put the blender parts right in the dishwasher. Whisks don’t come clean in dishwashers. They have to be soaked. But you can put water in the blender and whir it so it’s mostly clean before you take it apart. Whisking is too hard. People think it makes them look like a chef or something. People are too much.

Pour the mixture over the pears. Pouring from the blender is going to be easier. Pouring from a bowl is messy and it gets everywhere. Even if you pour carefully. With the blender you can add more milk too if it won’t all come out. If it gets too thin you can throw in more raisins. Raisins are good in stuff like this.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until golden and firm. They bake bread pudding for an hour and it is just about the same thing with the eggs and the raisins. Pears maybe cook faster than bread. But 40 minutes seems fast. The eggs won’t set right. Does this make its own crust? Maybe they should call it magic pear pie then people would know what to expect. No one knows what Perry Pie is supposed to look like. Perry doesn’t sound like food to anybody. Isn’t that guy from that TV show called Perry? Matthew Perry. Yeah. He looks like he ate a lot of pie. At least at the end. What was that show called? You used to watch it. You loved it. Friends. There was a cook in that show too. Bet she never made anything called a Perry Pie.

A story integrated into a recipe descripts the toxic effects of narcissism. Is this story about two people?

Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s work has appeared in The Lyric, Prime Number, Fourth River, Think Journal, The Raintown Review, qarrtsiluni, and many other places. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart. She lives on a small farm besides a massive woods, in a place referred to as Dark Cascadia.

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