As Easy as Pie

I’ve been cogitating on the idiom “as easy as pie.” Apparently this phrase was first used by someone who was eating a piece of pie, not baking a pie, because baking a pie can be difficult and may involve tears.

As a young bride of 21, about a hundred years ago, I had to make breakfasts, lunches, dinners, do the food shopping and wash the dishes, and I didn’t have a clue. I had purposely avoided the kitchen at home because I didn’t like my mother. She always seemed to find fault with me.

I hadn’t been married long when I decided to make an apple pie. In those olden days, one had to make piecrust from scratch and anyone who has done this, knows it is a skill that needs carefully practiced. I started with a stick of soft margarine and some flour and salt. I happily mixed it all together expecting it to become dough. However, it didn’t become dough. It became a wet, gooey mess.

I started over with fresh ingredients, reading the recipe over several times to get it right. This time I got a bunch of crumbles that wouldn’t congeal without adding water, and when I did add it, the same thing happened. Then I cried.

I called my mother, but she wasn’t home. I called my girlfriend and she told me I needed several things I didn’t have. First I needed to use real butter, and I needed a pastry blender. I didn’t have one. I didn’t even know what they looked like. I cried some more. She said I could blend the shortening and the flour with a fork but I had to do it very easily in order to get a good crust. Apparently if you mash the ingredients together too hard, the dough gets tough, and the tough get doughy.

I actually tried to make the crusts again, using butter and a fork to blend it, but it still didn’t work. I cried long and hard after that.  If tears were used to moisten the crust mixture, I could have had the best pie ever made. I’m sure at some point I threw something to vent my anger, but I don’t remember what. What I do remember is the flour was all over everything, there were dirty forks, spoons and bowls and there was no pie.

Whoever said something was “as easy as pie,” has never tried to make a pie crust from scratch. Long live ready-made pie crusts. No tears necessary.

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Idiomatic Expressions

Whenever I hear a word that begins with the letter ‘idio’, I get suspicious. For instance, take the word ‘idiom‘. Daniel Webster defines that word as “an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself grammatically or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meaning of its elements.” What? Even the definition is impossible to understand.

Thankfully, most of us know from general usage it means a slang expression used and defined by the general public. If you read on in the dictionary, you’ll find the word ‘idiotism’ means the same as ‘idiom’. Thus, when I complain about idiomatic expressions I am complaining about ‘idiotisms‘. I like that word better, it makes me feel smart.

What’s your choice for the most annoying idiotism in the English language?

Here’s mine:

Your husband is driving you along the highway and he points out a car in front of you that’s anchored in the passing lane. He wants to pass, but he can’t.

“Women drivers” he says emphatically, moving over to the right lane to pass and honking the horn at the other car. Despite the fact that I’m happy we are getting around the car in front of us,  I take offense in behalf of all women, some of whom are good drivers.

I think if Mr. Webster had taken a few more minutes to listen to his wife Merriam, and allowed her to drive more often, some of these mind bloggleing idiotisms could have been avoided.

Other Multiples

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