Love it or hate it: Chicken pot pie

by Jessie O’Brien

Love itMy fear of chicken pot pie began in kindergarten. Mrs. Nelson had brought an incubator into the classroom and all of the p.m. class couldn’t wait for the cozy little eggs inside to hatch.

It was around this same time I went to my neighbors Annie and Johnny’s house for dinner. Their twisted, sick suburban mother had made chicken and dumplings. I thought dumplings were little baby chicks, like the unborn angels in Mrs. Nelson’s classroom were soon to be. Eating balled-up baby chickens was truly disturbing to me.

My brain then associated chicken and dumplings to chicken pot pie since they smelled so similar. Pot pie was even more demented. Imagining fluffy yellow chickies being baked alive, trapped under the crust kept me up at night. My 5-year-old consciousness only accepted eating adult animals.

I remember the shock when I found out dumplings were in fact not cute baby chicks. Was the whole world a lie? It was an inside job!

It took a moment for me to get over the psychological hangups with the dishes, but when I had chicken pot pie for the first time, all my emotional inhibitions dissolved. The flaky crust with warm gravy and veggies tasted like nothing I ever tasted before: like guiltlessness, like shamelessness. I was an enlightened being.

— Jessie O’Brien

Hate itThere are some things that remind us of our childhood in a good way. For me, that’s the sound of acoustic Cat Stevens songs – he’s Yusuf Islam these days – the bright colors of blooming cacti, and the joy of riding lawnmowers, like the one I used to hop on when my grandpa was behind the wheel. He’d putter up and down the large south Texas lots adjacent to our house, cropping the weeds and patches of carpet grass as I balanced on the foot rest.

Then there are those things that remind us of the bogus parts of our childhood … things like chicken pot pie, especially the ones the Schwan man used to deliver. They are soup-turned-pie-filling abominations, and I cannot bring myself to conjure up any fond memories of them. In fact, they’ve been banned from my house now that I’m an adult because I’m a jerk and everyone else must suffer with me.

If I wanted chicken soup, I’d make chicken soup. It’s fine. It’s soup. If I wanted a pie, I’d make a pie. Pies are delicious, what with their flaky, buttery crusts and sugar-laden insides. But you know what I would never, ever do? I would never combine a can of soup and a pie, and then dump in a bag of frozen, perfectly-squared vegetables, because, well, I’m not a monster. To do so would be absurdity at its finest.

In closing, I would like to point out that chicken pot pie is not a real pie. It’s also not in a pot. It’s a lie and I will not stand for it.

— Angelica Leicht


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