Pie reveals dirty little secret

It would’ve been so easy to blame all this on my mother-in-law.

It was, after all, her chocolate pie recipe that reduced me to tears this week.

Like so many of my ill-fated ideas, this one started with what I thought were inspired, good intentions.

The challenge was our neighborhood’s upcoming block party. Our house was to be the dessert stop. It was the first time our block has done this, and OK, I organized it and volunteered our house to be one of the stops. So, let’s just get the blame out of the way. No one to blame but myself. For the party. For the idea. For the pressure of yes, trying to impress the neighbors. “She writes, she runs a household, she organizes parties, and boy, can she bake!” I imagined them saying.

The question was, “What to bake?” It needed to be good. And if it were to please my own family, it needed to be chocolate.

“Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate?” I racked by brain when it came to me.

My mother-in-law’s chocolate pie.

This is no ordinary chocolate pie.

From the day I met my husband and daughter they have waxed poetic about “Gommie’s Chocolate Pie” — how it’s the chocolatiest, best ever pie ever.

With only a year of marriage under my belt, dare I ask for the recipe?

“I have a big ask,” I said as I phoned small-town Texas.

“Yes?” My mother-in-law replied.

“Would you be willing to share your chocolate pie recipe?”

The chuckle in her voice told me she was thrilled I wasn’t calling with bad news and being the generous soul that she is, that she would love to share.

And so she started firing off the list of ingredients and instructions. “And this part is so easy,” she instructed. “You make the filling in microwave. You don’t even bother with getting a pot dirty.”

“Perfect!” I said thanking her profusely. Easy and no mess. Exactly what I was looking for.

Until, I started.

The chocolate filling should’ve thickened after a few minutes in the microwave.

It did not.

The less it thickened, the more I zapped.

The more I zapped, the less it thickened.

I launched into battle with this chocolate goo.

Until I gave up and poured what was left of this reduced lump of gummy brown glue into the pie shell.

It filled up about a third of the crust.

“This is terrible!” my family exclaimed. “What are these lumps?”

I think I made my husband homesick for his mommy.

As my family laughed away at my chocolate disaster, I excused myself and went upstairs and cried.

Not so much because of the pie. More because I’d been found out.

Have you ever had a dream come true, only to know deep down you probably don’t deserve it?

My new family now knew the truth about me. All because of this chocolate pie.

Even though I now make dinner every night, my dirty little secret is I don’t know how to cook.

Well, for most of my life I didn’t know. It was so bad my immediate family only let me do dishes on Thanksgiving.

But about five years ago, I started with small training-wheel kinds of steps like trying recipes for one in a crock pot. By time I met my future husband three years ago, I could pass as someone who could kind of cook.

But this disaster of a chocolate pie brought it all back. Like the fat person who lost 400 pounds, looks in the mirror and still sees fat.

Maybe this is the real me. Someone who can’t make a simple chocolate pie. Maybe I’m meant to be a lonely single girl after all.

Yes, from here, this all might sound dramatic. You, however, didn’t see the pile of chocolate goo.

I wiped my tears and called my mother-in-law to say thanks, but she remains Queen of the Chocolate Pie.

“Maybe some time when you visit I can stand beside you and watch how you do it?” I suggested.

“I’d love that,” she said. Told you she’s generous.

As for dessert, I went to the supermarket, bought a cake from their bakery, ice cream, and fixin’s for sundaes.

Store bought? Turns out the neighbors were impressed that I made things so simple.