When a recipe recently came my way for putting a pecan crunch topping on a pumpkin pie, it seemed like a great idea. Pumpkin pie and pecan pie are arguably the two most popular Thanksgiving desserts, so it seemed like a no-brainer to combine the two and get the best of both worlds.
But, ultimately, I didn’t do it. Thanksgiving is the only time one should do things the way they’ve always been done simply because it’s the way they’ve always been done. That’s the only possible explanation for the lingering popularity of green bean casserole. So for now, the pumpkin and the pecans will each stay in separate pies. It’s Thanksgiving, and things shouldn’t change.
Which is not to say that some of my most long-held convictions didn’t take a hit during this most traditional of seasons when things shouldn’t have been changing.
It started when I found out that putting sugar in a car’s gas tank doesn’t mean instant destruction for the car. I have accepted that pseudo-fact as gospel since I was a teenager. Never had occasion to do the deed but it was nice to know that if the ultimate act of passive-aggressive destruction was ever called for, all I needed was a bag of Dixie Crystals and a grudge.
Apparently, sugar does not dissolve in gasoline only to be turned to caramel by the engine’s heat and later a solid hunk of rock candy after the engine cools down, causing every moving part of the engine never to move again. Nope, turns out it doesn’t work that way. Sugar doesn’t dissolve in gasoline. A fuel filter will catch it like any other grit. Worst case scenario, car needs a new fuel filter, maybe a few new fuel filters, maybe the gas tank will need to be drained and cleaned. Bad certainly, but not total destruction.
Might as well spill a little sugar on the ground under the target car’s gas tank and leave an empty sugar bag nearby which will certainly cause some mental angst if not actual damage. At least it will until word gets out about sugar not being as destructive as previously thought.
Then on Tuesday, while having dinner with a friend who just got back from Australia, I asked her if it was weird that the toilets drained backward Down Under, as I have always been told they do in the Southern hemisphere. No, she said. No difference. That’s not true either. Another longstanding belief that turns out to be total myth.
But the Aussies do have half flush and full flush, which is exactly what it sounds like. If this drought doesn’t let up, we may get that technology here, but I imagine we’ll call it #1 and #2. So, at least my longstanding misconception of backward drains was replaced by learning about some handy new technology on the horizon. I’ve thought for a long time that water saver toilets were not the best solution for every job so I’m glad about that.
And if this wasn’t enough, my well-traveled friend showed me some pictures in which she was standing on a beach where the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean meet. It was fascinating. There was a clear line of demarcation where the water very visibly changed colors. I have no deep feelings about the meeting of oceans so, though fascinated by the phenomenon, it didn’t tear down any longstanding belief, so I was spared that.
Though it did bring up another point. What is this Southern Ocean clearly marked on the sign? I had never heard of such an ocean with its clear blue water bumping up against the gray water of the Indian Ocean. Since I learned what I know about geography in elementary school before the earth had completely cooled, I looked it up to see if anything had changed or if I had been seriously miscounting oceans for half a century.
Guess what, the Southern Ocean was invented in 2000. Thank goodness, I didn’t go on Jeopardy or play too many trivia games in the last 16 years. That would have been embarrassing not to know something as simple as how many oceans there are. But seriously, we shouldn’t be inventing oceans at this stage of the earth’s history.
So in the past week, I’ve lost a simple method of vengeance, lost the opportunity to see a drain swirl backward but gained an ocean. Hardly, the week of hidebound tradition I had expected. If I’d known all this earlier in the week, a misbegotten love child of pumpkin and pecan pies might have seemed a little less outrageous.
Bill Colvard is Lifestyles writer for the Mount Airy News and can be reached at 336-415-4699 or on Twitter @BillColvard.