Chocolate Meringue Pie

I was visiting my family from out of state and was invited to go to my brother and sister-in-laws that evening. I asked my beautiful sister in law if I could bring anything, and she says to bring a dessert. I am known to be a bit of an amateur baking expert or, at least, and enthusiastic baker. “No problem.” She was going to cook up an amazing ethnic meal from her Ecuadorian homeland and I would bring a simple American treat. Now, I firmly believe in the “Pregnancy Brain” syndrome. The syndrome where the baby growing in your belly is also stealing and consuming some of your brain cells and brain “sense.” I began making the pie in my mother’s kitchen while my toddler daughter runs around. I stop here and there to tend to her and accept phone calls and knocks at the door. When you have small children and attempt to create something in the kitchen you learn to triple the “prep” time. So, by the time I whip up the meringue and carefully and delicately spoon it on the top of my chocolately pudding I have placed in my homemade pie crust I’m already pressed for time. I’m not even dressed for the day. And I’m 7 months pregnant so I’m at that stage where I feel uncomfortable and goofy in everything I wear. And my host is a gorgeous latin woman. I quickly ready my little munchkin in a new unstained outfit and look through my three options of clothing that currently fit my humpty dumpty body and choose a pretty white blouse. Downstairs to the kitchen we hurry, my husband complaining why we couldn’t have just picked something up at the supermarket. “I’m not bringing a store bought dessert to their house.” I’m a homemade food snob. I peak open the oven. My meringue is turning a beautiful soft golden brown at the tips. The timer goes off. I know it should set for a hour. “come on” insists my husband. I pull it out. Whoa— it’s… jiggly. My husband and daughter go out to the car. I stand there for a second. Did I follow all the steps? I had made this recipe at least a few times before. “maybe it just needs to set up.” It’s so jiggly I walk very slowly out to the car with the pie in the box. As I lean down to get in the car, the warm chocolate filling leaks (pours) down my white top. I am furious. I hold back tears. I had invested so many hours. “It just needs to set up.” I say calmly. “Wait.” I say firmly. I go inside and put the box in another box and change my shirt to an old comfy cotton tshirt. I put the pie in the trunk. The beautiful meringue encouraging me. When we arrive thirty minutes late, the house smells delicious and she says, “I can’t wait to see what YOU brought.” I hand her the box and burst into tears. “It’s a pie.” I say through my sobs. She looked at my confused and startled. “it’s no good,” I cried. “Of course it’s good. We will eat it.” And we did eat it. With spoons. We all dug into it with soup spoons a delicious meringue, dark soupy pudding, and a mushy unbaked homemade crust that I had forgotten to pre- bake. That’s what family is for!