...I pause and I know that the aroma wafting through the house will change once the knife slips through the browned top of the pie on the counter, the pie the dogs sat before the oven smelling and watching and waiting for, the pie I peeled and sliced apples for while my friends watched 24 in the family room, the pie that made me think about my mother and the time she baked and froze eight apple pies because I loved them so much but then the freezer was left cracked open on a summer day and the pies thawed, the pie that made me think about my grandmother who made pie crusts with lard (lard has never worked for me the way butter works; I will tell you to avoid Crisco at all costs because it will kill you) and who so often had a pie waiting when we rolled up in the middle of the night, the pie whose crust I made in the interstices of preparing for a party yesterday (because I know how to squeeze a crust into nearly any gap, because I have been making them from scratch since I got over my fear with the help of some friends five years ago and learned that if you believe the Joy of Cooking when it tells you not to worry about your pies' aesthetics but just to focus on their taste, you'll be patient with yourself and you'll learn that others want the taste and you'll make more pies and then you'll be fearless and they (beautiful) will be your trademark and you'll turn to them with a relief and a glory in what your fingers know how to do with flour, butter, sugar, salt, and water, and one time you'll make eight pies' worth of double crusts in the space of ninety minutes, getting ready for graduation parties, and this particular night you'll warm the chilled disk of dough between your floured hands until it's malleable enough to hit surely with the rolling pin and you'll push it until you have the right round thinness to line a blue pie dish and you'll hear that Jack Bauer is hounding some woman who doesn't believe her husband is the enemy and right then, as though you timed it, though you didn't because you don't have to anymore, the filling will have finished bubblyspitthickening over high heat on the stove and you will pour the apples and their spiced juice into the bottom crust, seal on the top crust, and let your fingers keep doing the work they've memorized, in one of your favorite embodiments of kinesthetic memory, your body's knowledge, your favorite body of remembrance, as they fold and pinch into shape the excess hanging over the pie plate because you believe a pie subsumes all excess), the pie that made me start wondering again about why Reese Witherspoon repeatedly invoked "real womanhood" in her acceptance speech last night, the pie that makes me think there's something to be said here that I just can't say yet about travesties and caricatures of Americanness, the pie that made me think of my beloved Brooklynite who taught me neither to measure the spices nor to stop at cinnamon nor to use a spatula to mix in the crust's water but who still asks for pie recipes every Thanksgiving, the pie that tonight we won't wait to cool, the pie that will fuel my friend's teaching preparation, the pie that we will cut soon, the pie the dogs will want to eat (having tasted the raw materials), the pie we will eat for breakfast for days, the pie for which a knife is even now being selected, the pie that we will cut in thirty seconds.
"Hey, how does pie sound?" comes the call up the stairs. My eleven minutes are up.
A postscript--come on, you knew it was coming. Twenty minutes later: