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Looking out my Backdoor: Pay de pimiento morron and other wonders


Last updated 4/15/2022 at 7:10am

In the space of a few days I’ve transformed from a hermit grub to social butterfly.

It all began when John and Carol invited me to please, please, please join them for a lunch before they headed off into the sunrise back to Minnesota. I had turned down numerous such invitations during these last months, just not comfortable being out in the greater community.

When you come to visit we will take you to spend an afternoon walking the grounds of the Hacienda del Carmen, a beautifully restored historic ranch with centuries-old buildings, where we went for lunch. After a wonderful meal, we chose to go whole-hoggish and have dessert.

I like to taste foods new to me. One item on the menu was pay de pimiento morron which translates to bell-pepper pie. How could I resist? Well, I didn’t resist one bite. In looks, the slice of pie resembles pumpkin. In taste, it is its own yummy self.

Now my challenge is to recreate the pie and I’m fairly certain I’m up to the challenge.

In response to a comment by Michelle, I arranged a woman-time visit one morning, no men allowed. Over scones and coffee, five of us spent a couple hours noshing and laughing and generally relaxing, masks hanging from one ear while eating. It was all good.

Speaking of ears, has anybody else noticed how one’s ears grow larger as one ages? I used to have these cute little ears and am appalled at how large they have grown. Insult on top of injury, they don’t hear better being larger, in fact, well, huh, sorry, could you please repeat that.

From ears to toes, I know I have arthritis, but why do my toes look different at night, swollen and gnarly. In the morning they look normal. They pain me differently at night too.

I just had a birthday, so I suppose that is where some of these observations originate.

Nature or nurture? Where does the urge for a thorough, deep, spring cleaning originate?

I can’t say I like the process but I do get a great satisfaction from the afterglow.

Procrastination works for me for weeks. Then one morning I wake up and find I’ve begun the process without conscious thought. Which happened this week.

Opposed to my normal “I’ll-do-it-myself,” I hired Leo to do the heavy, high and hard.

I “hid the keys” to the ladder and step stools from myself. It’s that birthday thing. My nature is to show you I can still do it. Or is it the fear thing? Fear of falling? Or is it that when I hid the keys I found my right mind?

At any rate it is getting done, little by little, and I’m grateful for the help. Along the way I brilliantly invented a cleaning tool, my million-dollar idea of the day and you are welcome to it gratis.

I no longer want to get down on the floor to scrub those lower shelves or that corner cabinet where we all shove the least-used utensils. I can get onto the floor. It is the getting up that is awkward.

First, I researched the market and found that the closest thing available to what I want is a toilet brush, which will not do at all. My desired tool doesn’t exist, at least not in Mexico, which I must say has more cleaning products and whichits than anywhere I’ve ever been.

So I invented a new tool. I bought a new cotton mop, measured and marked the ideal spot to cut the handle and took the mop to Josue. I had him cut the handle and shape and sand the cut end. Then I carefully trimmed the twisted cotton strands to make a shorter mop head.

I’ve got to say my new tool works slickity-wickity, even more useful than I imagined.

Nature? Or nurture? I suppose we’d each answer differently. For me, after much thought while scrubbing out those once-a-year places, I found my answer. Grandma and Guilt, equal measures, possibly one and the same thing.

I’ll leave you with those thoughts to chew on while I go wash the bedroom windows.

What? Oh, the pie. I used the custard base of pumpkin pie with alterations: less pulp than with pumpkin pie, piloncillos for sugar. After you roast the peppers, whiz them in the blender. Carefully add seasonings to taste. I used cinnamon, cloves and a bit of allspice. It worked deliciously.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com/. Email [email protected]


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