Impossible Pie

We had some friends over for dinner last week and the discussion turned to pie. So I had to revisit our Katrina story. After the storm, my darling homeless husband and my pregnant homeless self were taken in by an elderly couple in Phoenix, Arizona, for two months. They were both in their eighties, and having experienced (the first) Depression and the Second World War first-hand, they lived at the intersection of generosity and frugality. They offered free room and board, plus work for my husband. Who were these people? Angels?

Once we’d made the long drive out there, Mr. Angel (not his actual name) presented us with a long, transparent tube with sand and water inside. Slushing it back and forth, Mr. Angel explained that in his hands was hard proof that the Grand Canyon was made in one day and that the earth indeed is only 6,000 years old. TA-DUH! “And don’t miss out on the fun tonight. People coming over for dinner and bible study.”

The most interesting part about all this is that my husband, a bonafide Catholic who goes to church every Sunday (remembers his checkbook) and reads the bible and says grace before meals, plus has a very high tolerance for people reciting verse in public, was DOOMED. In their mind, my husband was going straight down, whereas I, an atheist and former witch who’s only ever read “Our Father” in reverse (but was raised in a Lutheran country) still had a shot. Baptists are special, you have to give them that.

But it wasn’t the bible study part of the evening that I remember the most. It was the dinner part. Mrs. Angel introduced me to the world of Impossible Pies. There are literally hundreds of recipes for these, and they all read about the same: 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, half a cup of Bisquick, 1 cup grated yellow cheese, plus the other ingredient(s) that make each recipe so special and different. Impossible Spinach Pie, Impossible Taco Pie, name one. We had them all over the course of two months. For Impossible Cheeseburger Pie, just add ground beef and diced onion. Fabulous. On the Betty Crocker site, the recipe for Impossible Cheeseburger Pie comes with this delicious footnote: “This recipe has been on the Bisquick mix box for years, and is still one of the most-requested. Top off a slice of this delicious pie just like you would a cheeseburger. Some favorites are barbecue sauce, bacon, ketchup, salsa and sliced tomato. Or go wild with pineapple slices or avocado!” Yay, pineapple slices. (Last time I had pineapple slices on anything was in Sweden at a gas station restaurant serving Hawaiian pizza.)

Anyway. There was this one night that I remember more than the others. Mrs. Angel was in the kitchen whipping up the eggs and the milk and I thought the package of frozen spinach on the counter said it all—we’d be dining on Impossible Spinach Pie tonight! But I was wrong. Mrs. Angel went wild, and it did not involve pineapple slices or avocado, or even spinach. We enjoyed Invisible Spinach Pie that night because Mrs. Angel forgot to put the spinach in.