Our daughter is four months old! It is both amazing to me how young she still is (it’s been a lifetime — literally! — since she was born) and how four months have already passed us by. When I was pregnant, we had planned to be on the west coast at this time, introducing her to her family and friends. Of course, we haven’t gone anywhere at all due to the pandemic and she has met almost none of her family. So, we are celebrating at home just us three with a wee tea party. Why celebrate four months? Well, mostly because we don’t go anywhere or do anything so we have to create excitement where we may. But also because four is my favorite number.
I am not a pie baker. The only pie I regularly make is pumpkin-cheesecake pie which involves a store-bought crust (I prefer the Oreo one, but I have made a graham cracker cheesecake crust as well) and, well, cheesecake filling. I have once made an apple pie from scratch (after which I swore I’d never do it again because wow, that is a pain in the butt and I don’t even like apple pie all that well). I am not even much of a pie eater; I am not very fond of fruit pies. But then, I think the weekend of my husband’s cousin’s wedding, but it may have been the weekend of my sister-in-law’s wedding…my mother-in-law gave me a slice of homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie. And wow, that is a pie of which I am fond, to say the least! We have since baked it together, and because our local farm store has rhubarb and strawberries in season, and because I miss my husband’s family something awful, baking a strawberry-rhubarb pie just seemed the thing to do.
My mother-in-law uses Fannie Farmer’s strawberry-rhubarb pie filling recipe, with an extra tablespoon of flour. Along with that, I used Erin McDowell’s All-Buttah Pie Dough recipe from her book The Fearless Baker. Rather than make a lattice I chose four cookie cutters in shapes I like*, and made a little number four out of scraps of dough.
I am not an experienced pie baker, as noted above : the crust underneath definitely had a soggy bottom of which Mary Berry would not approve, and the filling was too juicy — but honestly it tasted great and I’m still pretty proud of myself. David and I had tea and pie and we gave the baby a special new toy (not to mention, I happened to receive a recent book order including the riveting board book Paddington Bear All Day, so, you know…a pretty good haul for a four-month birthday). And it felt good to celebrate something joyous, and to eat a food we have enjoyed many times with David’s family.
Finally, four things I love about my girl :
One : Her delicious, buttery smell. (Almost like a pie crust smell, actually.)
Two : Picking her up when she is still mostly asleep to nurse her — her warmth and weight, how she latches on and nurses without opening her eyes, how her little hand (confined to her zipadee-zip) reaches up towards my face.
Three : Her face when I sing Feed the Birds from Mary Poppins to her — like it’s a secret delight only she and I get to enjoy together.
Four : The tuft of hair on the top of her head, which showed up in an ultrasound photo and has managed to hold on (wispily) even while much of her hair has fallen out.
*I texted the photo of the completed pie to my best friend, who immediately replied, “I love the whale!!!” I then discovered that the cookie cutter that to me is a snail can also look like a whale. I’m not even sure anymore whether the cookie cutter is a whale or a snail shape. What do you see?