Race Weekend Central

Voices From The Cheap Seats: Off Week Thoughts On… Proper Pot Pies?

Yes, as the title indicates, I am going to talk a bit about pot pies. More to the point, my pet peeves of preparing pot pies. Before we get to the pot pie prose however, I want to tell you just exactly why you are reading about pot pies.

The thing is, writing about NASCAR each and every week can get tedious especially if you have a year like last year. Same old news, written about over and over by hundreds of media types, week in and week out. By the time this column appears on Friday well, it’s hard to put a new suit on an old pig, so to speak.

Fearing a case of NASCAR burnout, I negotiated with the powers that be here at Frontstretch.com to occasionally let me rant on about everyday stuff that may not have one darn thing to do with NASCAR. With a dismissive wave and a “sure, whatever,” I was granted permission to proceed. When I informed them that an off week was the perfect time to write about such things as pot pies, I was told that “uh yeah, we did say that uh…do you think you can work ‘NASCAR’ in there somehow!?” It was clear that panic had set in but, fear not yon editor, I’ve got it all worked out!

NASCAR fans are by nature, more apt to eat frozen, store bought pot pies than they are say, bagels and lox. In light of that, it is vitally important, especially if you want to enjoy your pot pie with the least amount of frustration, that it be prepared properly. Having vast knowledge and more importantly, years of experience in perfecting the pot pie preparing ritual, I will share it now with you.

Just what every NASCAR fan needs! Jeff Meyer’s recipe for the perfect frozen pot pie.

A most important note here; all instructions forthcoming are for preparing your pot pie in a microwave oven. Let’s face it, if you are old enough to have grown up without a microwave, now that you have one you sure as heck ain’t gonna wait around 45 minutes or more to eat them once you are resigned to eating them in the first place. In the old days, before and at the start of the microwave age, pot pies came in little tinfoil bowls that you couldn’t nuke anyway. Now that the pot pie has caught up with technology, nuking them is just as good and infinitely faster.

First things first: Totally ignore the instructions on the back! I don’t care if you are using the cheap, under a dollar Banquet or Swanson, or the higher end Marie Callender’s, whoever wrote the directions has never actually followed them! This is evidenced by the fact that if they had, they’d have gone back and written them differently. Actually, about the only useful tip on the back of any carton is the time it says to cook them. I find that, no matter what, use the high end of the time scale!

Low end models say to remove from the carton and cook on a microwave safe dish. High dollar ones say to cook in the box cuz they got this fancy little silver thingy that is gonna brown the top crust but it doesn’t really matter. I suggest that you remove all of them from the box because no matter what you do, half the juice is gonna ooze out the side! Some say to cut slits on the top to prevent this, which I always do simply because I’m an optimistic sort, but again, it doesn’t matter because the juice is still gonna come out the side. Its just pot pie physics I guess. At any rate, here are my step by step instructions which should be on the back of every box.

1. Remove pie from carton.
2. Remove frozen pie from it’s cute little dish. This can usually be done by holding the dish upright in you palm and gently squeezing until the pie pops out. Set pie to the side for the moment.
3. Spray the inside of the cute little dish with a non-stick cooking spray or rub a light film of butter or margarine in it. Replace frozen pie into now greased little dish.
4. Place dish and pie on a hard flat surface and stab the top of pie a few time with a knife or other sharp object. (Helps to relieve tension not only inside the cooking pie, but in you as well!)
5. Place dish and pie on a paper plate and microwave for the highest amount of time listed on the box. Even longer if you have a little microwave. You know who you are.
6. Once pie is done cooking, carefully remove pie from oven and flip upside down on the plate you plan to eat off of. Let cool for a couple of minutes if you want.
7. Using the bottom, flat side of a fork, sharply whack the bottom of the little dish all the way around the bottom edge. This should loosen the pie from the dish. If pie still seams to be sticking inside the dish, whack it a few more times.
8. Once dish is free of the pie, you should notice that the spray or butter used in step 3, creates a nice browning of the bottom and side crusts.
9. Using your fork, scrape all the juice that leaked out on the paper plate during cooking onto the bottom crust and enjoy.

Now I know that may sound like a lot of steps just for a lousy pot pie but it’s not as bad as it seems and believe me it is all worth it. Before you know it, it will be second nature to remove, spray, stab, cook, flip, whack, (maybe whack again), scrape and enjoy! All in all, you will be eating in under 8 minutes or so and that is a lot better than the hour or so of the good ole days!

Another tip is this; If like me, you plan on eating more than one pot pie at a sitting (highly probable with the cheap models), open and prepare ALL the pies through step 4 at one time and cook only one pot pie at a time. As you sit down to enjoy the first one, pop the other into the microwave and magically, by the time you are done with the first, the next has had time to cook and usually cool to the right temp for optimal whacking and dish removal!

How’d I get so good at this? I’m a guy and I like pot pies, nuff said!

Here’s a NASCAR bit to help placate whomever is in charge this week…some of it is true some of it is BSNews (in the spirit of April Fools), you decide which part is which!

Mears to promote Distracted Driving Awareness Month: The month of April is underway and it serves as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. For the second straight year, DRIVE SMART Virginia, GEICO and Germain Racing will partner to bring attention to one of our nation’s biggest hazards, distracted driving. Casey Mears will carry the DRIVE SMART Virginia logo on his #13 GEICO Ford Fusion for the Martinsville and Richmond Sprint Cup Series races on April 7th and April 27th. Mears and his GEICO team will help deliver the message that ‘driving distractions can be deadly& buckle up, phone down’. Mears will be personally posting updates on twitter from the cockpit of the #13 GEICO Ford as the race unfolds. Interested fans can follow Casey at @CaseyMears .(Player Management International)(4-4-2013)

Stay off the wall (its where you’ll end up if distracted!)

Jeff Meyer

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