Jeanne-ology: Throwback Thanksgiving

Hi There - Jeanne takes over the blog tonight to discuss just how Thanksgiving at PJP has changed over the years. Suffice it to say, a lot has changed…and a fair amount of things have stayed alarmingly the same. Enjoy! - Rebecca


We are just a week from Thanksgiving and our orders have poured in, far exceeding our original expectations (and far above the amount of orders for Thanksgiving last year). Rebecca over analyzes everything (she is very good doing this) and I just listen and nod my head when she is in this mode of analyzing. For instance, at the beginning of October we had already received about sixty orders for Thanksgiving. Out of the blue she says, maybe we won't get as many Thanksgiving orders and if that happens, does that mean our customers no longer like us? How do you respond to such a ridiculous comment? I just rolled my eyes without saying anything. She knew I was telling her to stop with the craziness. Such is our relationship - a look or an expression will convey an entire conversation between us.

Today, about 2 p.m., my feet were hurting and our goals for baking were not even being close to accomplished for the day. It made me think about the first Thanksgiving when Peg and I opened the pie shop in 1994. We had opened in March that year and didn't have any expectations about Thanksgiving orders. I think we thought that a few orders, maybe 25 or so, would be the extent of any Thanksgiving baking. Every time someone called to place an order, we were giddy and excited. It confirmed to us that our pies were good and our customers liked us. We kept taking orders with no concern for counting how many pies we would need to bake.

We didn't give much thought to the logistics of how could we bake eight nine-inch pies with one oven. We had purchased a used range top stove with the oven below.  Our refrigerator was also purchased used and small by today's standards. Our kitchen was tiny and there were no employees, just Peg and I to bake all those orders. All the pie pick ups were scheduled for the Wednesday before the big day. The weekend before Thanksgiving, I remember going to a movie and just relaxing. We didn't even get in baking supplies until Tuesday! We bought all of our supplies at Sam's because we were too small to have any food truck delivery. On Tuesday afternoon, we began sorting through our orders and how many to make of each flavor of pie. I started counting how many pies we could bake in one used oven and much time would it take to make all of them. Fear overcame both of us, because we realized that we would be spending the night in that tiny kitchen and what the hell had we got ourselves into?!?!?! A lot of our time was spent half nodding off to sleep while waiting for the oven timer to sound off so we could load up the oven again. Why didn't we plan smarter? Why did we take so many meringue orders? Who said we should open a pie shop?

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Rebecca was in college and she came in early Wednesday to help us out by checking out customers. Peg and I didn't look too well after spending over 24 hours in a tiny kitchen and one oven. Heck, we could barely walk we were so stiff (that sounds a bit familiar even now). We managed to make all those pies and Rebecca carried us over the finish line. Rebecca didn't have any interest in pie baking back then. Good thing she didn't, because she would have wanted to kill Peg and I both because the last minute preparation and orders in disarray.  I still tend to wait to the last minute to plan anything. Maybe I know it will get done…perhaps harder than it should be, but the end result will be the same.

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think that Rebecca and I would be in business together and certainly not a pie shop! But here we are running a much bigger operation and planning on handling over a thousand Thanksgiving orders. I am serious when I say that Rebecca has been the driving force to our success. She has list of things to be done and by what time they need to accomplished. She knows all the logistics of when we need to prep for the pies, who is scheduled to work and how the BIG PIE PICKUP will go down. I worry more about the kitchen needing to cleaned up and putting it back to order after the holiday. On Wednesday afternoon, Rebecca will be there until the very end. Me? I will probably be fighting off sleep and leaving as early in the afternoon as I can.