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Chinese Nutella and Grasshopper Pie
I'm off today but looked back through some old travel journals for any stories about unusual Thanksgiving celebrations. There's no entry on Thanksgiving Day, 1990, but it appears I spent the day either on the Trans-Siberian train from Beijing to Moscow, or I had just arrived in Moscow a day or so before the holiday. My entry from the first day on the train shows I was already in the thanksgiving spirit:
It's just marvelous! In my compartment, clean and cozy, with a stash of yummy food you would not believe! Spaghetti, Campbell's tomato, tuna, PB&J, Nutella (the Chinese version), tangerines, carrots, cookies and bread.
The friend I was going to stay with in Moscow had sent a note saying, "You should be forewarned - life is pretty miserable here right now." And it was, for many people. The Soviet Union was falling apart. No one knew what lay ahead. I spent the winter there, and to this day I remain grateful for the chance to observe firsthand that upheaval of history.
* * *
Now to the grasshopper pie part. . . it's my Thanksgiving tradition that's a little unusual - or at least has nothing to do with the end-of-harvest-season. I think I first made it for our family gathering when I was a kid and thought the whole idea of a grasshopper pie was hilarious. (Like you might actually eat bugs.) I stick with it now because it requires no cooking, and you can eat crushed chocolate cookies mixed with melted butter as you make it. YUM!
There are a lot of variations. Here's mine:
Emily's Recipe for Grasshopper Pie
Put a bunch of chocolate cookies - either the creme sandwich kind (like Oreos - about two of the rows in a one pound package) or chocolate (or chocolate mint!) wafers (a couple of little boxes) into a blender or a plastic bag.
Blend them or crush them with a rolling pin, toy hammer, or similar pounding tool until they are pretty well pulverized.
Add melted butter. I usually start with half a stick and wind up melting more. Once it's mixed with the cookie crumbs, set aside a little bowlful to eat as is! Press the rest into the bottom of a springform pan or a pie plate that can go in the freezer. Hint: keep this kind of thin or it will be very hard to cut, especially if you've used cookies with filling.
Mix one jar of marshmallow kreme (yes, with a k) with 1/4 cup creme de menthe.
Whip one pint of cream (with a c). Fold the minty marshmallow mix into the whipped cream.
Scoop that mix on top of the chocolate cookie crust. Sift on cocoa, or scrape shavings from your favorite chocolate bar, or arrange chocolate chips in a turkey shape on top, if you wish. Freeze at least 24 hours. Have Thanksgiving dinner at home or not too far away so it won't melt!
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