Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Grandmother's Meat Pie
If we have the good fortune to be raised in a family that loves food, we are sure to have certain dishes we associate with certain occasions and people. It isn’t always pretty. Some dishes make us roll our eyes before they roll our stomachs. Some dishes we rave about while the perpetrator is in the room while we roll eyes at each other and can’t wait to get to the car to giggle about the atrocity. But other dishes make us weep with joy, send us right back to being children and conjure a lifetime of cherished memories. If a dish like that is associated with just one creator, the meal and the person are wrapped into one.
My grandmother wasn’t known to be a great cook. I remember more than a few occasions that led to giggles in the car. But one dish she mastered to the degree that nobody even had the nerve to attempt it until about six weeks ago. She passed away a few days ago and today I am headed to her funeral. What I would give today for one last piece of her touque.
What’s that you ask? How should I know? I don’t even know if I spelled it right. I have never seen it in print until just now. It is, in our family, pronounced like “took-aye” and is apparently similar to French tourtiere pie. It is a meat pie of finally ground pork and beef with all sorts of seasonings fully enveloped in a buttery, rich pie crust.
My grandmother made it for Christmas eve when I was little. Once we moved away from Massachusetts this was a dish I looked forward to my grandmother making when she visited. One day while she visited I would leave for school only to return in the afternoon to a house filled with amazing smells. Our great fortune was that she always made a few at a time, allowing us to freeze some and enjoy them throughout the year.
I have never made it. My dad tried it short time ago, and it turned out pretty good. Now that she has passed away, I think it is time I try this at home. And no matter how it turns out, it will be in honor of my grandmother. May we always toast to Memé before we eat…and drink a few martinis while we cook!
Hope they keep the rocks on the side in Heaven for you!