Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers since before George Driediger was re-elected as mayor of Langley Township.

Odd Thoughts: The dark side of an idea

Sometimes you should just go ahead and do without the gold and settle for pasty white.

By Bob Groeneveld


I just wanted to brown the tourtiere.

The interior of the meat pie was done to perfection, but the top shell still looked a little pale, a little bit pasty, and I wanted the dish to look as good as I knew it was going to taste.

I knew the tourtiere was going to taste great because I make them every December.

In addition to the ones we consume as part of our post-Christmas tradition, I usually make a half dozen or so spares that go into the freezer raw so we can pull them out, toss them in the oven, and enjoy them without fuss any time the mood takes us as the New Year unfolds.

And this one was just another member of a batch that had turned out especially well this year, so there was no question that it was going to taste incredible.

But when my tourtieres are baked from frozen they don’t seem to turn out looking quite as perfectly as the original that went fresh into the oven. Something about my tourtiere pastry interferes with the browning process after it’s been frozen.

The pastry doesn’t come out raw… it just doesn’t come out of the oven with a delicious-looking golden brown dusting the bumps and ridges. It comes out a well-cooked but creamy white.

Here I was, looking at a piping hot tourtiere through the window in the oven, knowing that it was going to be delicious… but it just didn’t look as spectacular as it should.

That’s when I had an idea.

Donna always says that when I have an idea, I should stop and think about it for a moment – or even a day or two – before I act on it. Unlike my tourtieres, she says, my ideas are not always perfect.

But I didn’t have a day or two – or even a moment. The moment was now.

I turned on the broiler for a carefully calculated blast of browning heat.

I figured no more than five minutes would be necessary for the broiler element to suggest that the butter and flour react with each other to offer up the deep golden tones that I knew they had hidden inside them.

But just in case – and to be honest, so that I could witness the miracle of my genius unfold – I was glued to the movie screen that my oven window had become in my mind’s eye.

To my horror, I discovered that I was watching the wrong show!

Instead of gently kissing the peaks and ridges to coax out their darker tones, the broiler element seemed at first to do nothing at all… and then unleashed a dragon’s breath that instantly turned the creamy white expanse of my tourtiere crust into a wasteland of blackened scabs and smoking craters.

The transformation was so swift, that by the time I opened the oven door, I could barely see through the smoke to locate tonight’s dinner, and the smoke detectors throughout the house broke into an instant chorus insinuating my stupidity.

All I wanted to do was just brown the damn tourtiere.


In a past life, Bob Groeneveld was editor of the Langley Advance and the Maple Ridge Times. Now he writes when and what he feels like. He has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with readers for more than 40 years. Visit with him on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction of parking lot at Langley park open to public consultion

Shared parking space at Denny Ross Memorial Park was redeveloped into townhouses

Initial report of 2015 pedestrian death was ‘inaccurate,’ Langley RCMP say

Statement issued to clarify that victim had not been walking in the middle of the road

Changes will make W.C. Blair pool more accessible: Township

Latest renovations will improve access to the sauna and hot tub

WEATHER: A mix of sun and cloud in Langley

Temperatures will reach a high of 7 C

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway

An unstable airmass is producing heavy flurries over parts of the southern highway passes

B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Most Read