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Nonnie’s Pecan Pie

23.November.2011

  If this is the first time to my blog and you are scrolling through past posts or you have been following my blog for a while you may be wondering if this blog is about food or wedding photography. I love both! Ultimately what my blog is about are stories, family stories to be […]

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If this is the first time to my blog and you are scrolling through past posts or you have been following my blog for a while you may be wondering if this blog is about food or wedding photography. I love both! Ultimately what my blog is about are stories, family stories to be specific. Families often start with marriage and the rich traditions celebrated at weddings, but there are continuing stories, parts of a whole that help define who we are as individuals as a family and as a community.

Thanksgiving is one of my wife and I’s favorite holidays, it involves food and family and time to share in each others company without obvious distraction. Maebelle Carden or Nonnie, as she is know by our family, is Chrystal’s paternal grandmother and a proper southern lady. My wife, Chrystal, can not remember a thanksgiving with out Nonnie cooking from scratch, with the use of only her memory, pecan pies in Durham, North Carolina. A particularly southern dish (pecan’s are widely grown in North Carolina and Georgia) for a particularly southern family. In recent years Chrystal and I have been celebrating Thanksgiving in New York and Chrystal has been following the tradition of her grandmother in baking pecan pie.

Several years ago Chrystal’s mom decided to ask Nonnie for the recipe and it was written down for the first time, see below. This year I decided to document the process at Thanksgiving and will have further images when we visit Nonnie around Christmas time.

Nonnie in her Garden, circa 1930′s, Photo by Robert Carden.
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Chrystal’s pecan pie this Thanksgiving, it tasted as good as it looks!

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Nonnie’s original recipe transcribed by her for Chrystal and Chrystal’s mom a few year back, please feel free to share!
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Pecan’s picked just two weeks ago and fedex’d to our home from North Carolina

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Brown and Granulated Sugar

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Fresh pastured eggs from Union Square Market

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Karo Syrup, my niece Julia, visiting from Vermont, assisted in positioning of spoon for this photograph.

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Vanilla Extract

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Butter
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Nonnie last year in her current garden!

0082_Chrystal-slideshowChrystal pours the pies in our kitchen.

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Myself, Nonnie and Chrystal, in Durham, around the holidays last year.
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  • nelson michael chin

    Great shots, I love the measuring spoon set. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and the family. Nelson

Phil wins his Love!

20.November.2011

Villa Catignano, Tuscany Italy-   Really?  Phil had to demonstrate the qualities of Romance, Humor, Security, Strength and Intelligence before the bridesmaids would allow him inside the villa to take his love to be married.  The tradition stems back to ancient Chinese traditions during times when arranged marriages were common place.  Games, which are still often […]

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Villa Catignano, Tuscany Italy-   Really?  Phil had to demonstrate the qualities of Romance, Humor, Security, Strength and Intelligence before the bridesmaids would allow him inside the villa to take his love to be married.  The tradition stems back to ancient Chinese traditions during times when arranged marriages were common place.  Games, which are still often times played at Chinese weddings, were meant to be ice-breakers to introduce the families and couples who may have been meeting each other for the first time.  Now these traditions are woven into modern celebrations and they certainly added a distinctive flare to Phil and Jennifer’s wedding in the Italian countryside.   Perhaps their inclusion served a similar purpose in providing fun and excitement to the onlooking guests whom traveled from Phil’s native Switzerland and Jennifer’s native New York and Minnesota.  (The full post on Phil and Jennifer’s wedding can be seen here.)

See how Phil fared in his quest to demonstrate his qualities to win over his Love below.

Guests gather around the entrance to the Villa as Phil arrives to be blocked at the entrance by the bridesmaids.  Jennifer, in the suite above looks down from the window to witness and approve/disapprove of Phil’s gestures.

Phil knocks on the door of the Villa to gain access.  The door is market with traditional Chinese characters signifying double happiness.

Phil presents envelopes of cash to the bridesmaid to prove his worth and security.  Here the bridesmaid rejects what she thinks is not enough and more envelopes are passed.

Phil dresses in foolish garb to demonstrate his humor and the groomsmen join in…more unwillingly!

When it came to demonstrate the quality of strength, the bridesmaids asked Phil to do 99 pushups, which were divided among the groomsmen.

The 99 pushups not being enough, Phil is asked to carry all the groomsmen to show his strength.  (This image placed in the most recent WPJA contest!)

Phil expresses his love by writing “I Love You Jen” on pink balloons with the marker in his mouth.

After much bargaining, a lighter wallet, stressed muscles and perhaps a bit of a bruised ego, Phil is allowed to pass to claim his love.

  • Jerzy Modrak

    Looks like it was a fun wedding! Must have been fun to shoot it!

Jennifer and Phil, Villa Catignano, Tuscany, Italy

03.November.2011

  Guests traveled from around the world to the Tuscan hill top wedding of Jennifer and Phil.  They chose this particular Villa for its rustic charm and proximity to both Florence (Firenze) and Siena.  Light rain and sunshine doted the day (which is typical weather for the summer in Tuscany) but did not put a […]

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Guests traveled from around the world to the Tuscan hill top wedding of Jennifer and Phil.  They chose this particular Villa for its rustic charm and proximity to both Florence (Firenze) and Siena.  Light rain and sunshine doted the day (which is typical weather for the summer in Tuscany) but did not put a damper on their special day.  Phil had painstakingly restored a vintage Vespa to be their only mode of transportation on their honeymoon in the Italian countryside.  Their luggage included only what they could fit on the Vespa and they had no reservations!    Stay tuned for next weeks post on what Phil had to do to convince the bridesmaids to allow him to take Jennifer away, until then please check out the WPJA award winning image of the series.

  • Jerzy Modrak

    Nice! Wish I got an assignment like this one day.

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