Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pecan Perfection


I woke up this morning with a hankering for pecan pie. Many of you probably have a special recipe for pecan pie and I’m sure all have merit, but I’m just not interested. You see, I’ve tasted nirvana and it isn’t to be found in fresh ingredients or recipes baked with big doses of love. Nope, not what I’m salivating over.
Years ago Mrs. Chatterbox asked me what I thought of pecan pie and, in a moment of weakness, I told her I liked pecan pie. This was a mistake because my wife will do anything to please me, such as baking and serving me a perfect pecan pie, but her efforts were doomed even before she started gathering together the perfect ingredients. To be sure, Mrs. Chatterbox is a wonderful cook who’s labored for forty years to keep me satisfied in the kitchen and elsewhere, but when she presented me with her version of a perfect pecan pie I’m ashamed to admit I was less than enthusiastic.
What was wrong with Mrs. C’s pie? For starters, it was…rich and moist. Her crust was buttery and melted in my mouth, a visual treat, rivulets dripping from the dollop of vanilla ice cream crowning a generous slice.  My wife’s pie tasted like it was fresh from a bakery. It was ALL WRONG! I’d been spoiled by the best.
It began when I was a UCLA student motoring home to San Jose in my ’68 Beetle. I had a hideous case of the munchies and pulled off the road in Bakersfield. After filling my tank with gas I headed for a vending machine near the office. It was empty, except for one package hanging in wait for someone to release it with a couple of quarters.
I wasn’t even sure what the item was; all I could read was BAMA. But I was a starving college kid and I slipped two quarters into the machine.
The package dropped; a mini cloud of dust rose in the tray, making me wonder how long this item had failed to attract a buyer. I claimed my prize and examined it carefully. The package was bright red with Pecan written in festive letters, and America’s Favorite on a blue banner. I could barely make out a picture of the product partially hidden by the letters, enough to make me wonder if I’d just wasted fifty cents. What I saw resembled a circle of…cockroaches. How could this possibly be America’s favorite?
I tore open the package and a pecan hockey puck slid into my hand. I considered tossing it into a nearby trash can but my pockets were empty, the vending machine was empty, and my growling stomach convinced me to give this pie a chance. I bit into it and instantly noticed a chewy sensation, followed by an explosion of taste that expanded in my mouth until I was nearly overcome by tasty delight.
 Over the next few years I made a point of stopping at that gas station whenever I happened to be passing through Bakersfield. Years have passed since I’ve driven through that part of the country. I’ve appreciated many pecan pies over the years, including ones baked in four star bakeries. Sadly, none have measured up to my vending machine ideal. It goes without saying that my wife deserves a husband with a palette far more sophisticated than mine. Unfortunately, we all have our limitations.
I understand the BAMA Corporation is still in business, but I no longer see this product anywhere. If a store near you carries them, make a chubby chatterbox extremely happy by mailing me a few of these tasty treats.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?


  1. Such a lucky man, a wife who bakes. My hubby likes Pecan Pie too, I'll have to ask him if he's ever come across this one.

    I'd have to say that my mother's Cinnamon roll, would be one I've never found a replacement for.

  2. I contacted Bama on your behalf and ordered some.

    I love everything my wife cooks for me. :P

  3. I have never heard of that company. Every pleasure is my guilty pleasure. I'm a Lutheran.


  4. My experience with pecans is not with pie but the nut itself. We buy packaged pecans in our groceries. One time I was in Phoenix visiting my Dad, He loved picking pecans. Of course, I had to learn to shell them. While shelling, I ate them ! Wonderful. wW took a bag full back and my wife baked with them there was no comparison when you use a pecan right off the tree compared to a store bought pecan.

  5. It all goes to show that the first time is always the best.

    My guilty pleasure is wine-gums. I put them in my mouth two-at-a-time and can get through a 500g pack within the hour.

  6. I'm not a pecan pie person -- it's too sweet for me, but give me a bag of pecans and I'm in heaven...

  7. Unfair comparison. Have you tried Mrs. Chatterbox's pecan pie on a road trip, having a case of the munchies? hmmm?

    My own list of guilty pleasures is rather long. Maybe Little Debbie Swiss Rolls? Tator Tots? Fried chicken? The Parmesan French Fries at Block 15 in Corvallis? Can't decide. They're all really good for me though.

  8. (those are crows in my post today - i had 'american crow' as the post title. we don't get ravens here. they are bigger and a bit more 'bearded' than crows. :) thought i had your email address but didn't so came back here to respond.)

  9. My all-time favorite pie is Pecan Pie. But, I always have an argument with southern relatives:
    Is is PEEcan? Or PuhCAHN?
    Whatever, I call it delicious.
    And don't get me started on the "Turnip-Rutabaga" debate.

  10. By the way, my guilty pleasure?
    Peanut M&Ms.

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  12. It's one of my favourites. And it's your fault I'm thinking, just before bedtime, 'er .. wonder what's in the cupboard?'