Pie Dough to Play Dough


(Based on a true story)
God gave me a family … because he loves me (Children’s Songbook, 234).

Celie turned the butter knife over and leveled the top of a cup of flour. “I can make it flat with one try,” she told her grandmother.

“I think you’re going to be a baker when you grow up,” Grandma said, pitting the cherries. She pinched another plump cherry, and juice splattered all over her glasses. “Uh-oh. I’m going to need windshield wipers for my glasses if the juice keeps hitting me instead of the bowl.”

Celie laughed. “I can measure the flour, but I’m glad you did the seed part. That’s too messy.”

Grandma finished the cherries and walked over to check on the pie dough Celie was making. “It looks like there might be too much salt,” she said. “What did you use to measure it?”

Celie leaned over the bowl and stared at the mixture inside. A big tear slid down her nose. “I think I goofed. I put one cup of salt into the bowl instead of one teaspoon.”

Grandma wiped away Celie’s tear. “I know how to solve this problem. I have a great play-dough recipe that calls for lots of salt.”

Grandma pretended to have a magic wand and waved it over the bowl. “Poof, you’re now play dough—not pie dough.”

Celie giggled.

Grandma set aside the play dough. “I’ll help you start over with the pie dough. After we measure the dry ingredients, I will teach you how to cut in the shortening.”

“Cut it?” Celie asked. “With scissors?”

Grandma laughed. “No, I use a pastry cutter.”

“How are we going to get all those crumbs flat?”

“The rolling pin makes the dough smooth and round,” Grandma answered.

“You mean like when I roll clay into a long, round snake?”

Grandma chuckled. “No snakes in our pie.”

“You know what I like about cooking?” Celie asked, wiping the flour off her hands.

“Licking the bowl?”

“That’s second best,” Celie said. “Most of all I like doing things with you.”

Grandma squeezed Celie’s shoulder. “When I was a little girl my grandma taught me how to make tarts. They’re like miniature pies. While my grandma was busy peeling apples, I stuffed the tiny tart tins full of dough. I filled them so high there wasn’t room for the apple filling.”

“Did she get mad?” Celie asked.

“No, she showed me how to fix the tarts and rolled the leftovers into a ball. I got to play with it. She even let me sneak a taste of the dough.”

Grandma pinched off a piece from the edge of the cherry pie and popped it into her mouth.

“Grandma, you’re still sneaking it,” Celie said, shaking her finger.

Grandma laughed and gave her a hug.

Celie was quiet.

“What are you thinking?” Grandma asked.

“Your grandma taught you to make pies. And now you’re the grandma and you’re teaching me.”

“That’s right,” Grandma answered.

“Heavenly Father has a good plan,” Celie said. “He puts us in families. When I’m a grandma, I can teach my granddaughter to make a pie. If she puts in too much salt, I’ll turn it into play dough too.”

Grandma smiled. “We all make mistakes, Celie. Sometimes we have to do things over. Sometimes we just learn and go on. Mistakes help us grow.” Grandma sprinkled sugar over the pies and slid them into the oven. “Let’s go finish that play dough.”

Celie held Grandma’s hand and skipped to the counter.

“I’m kind of glad you put in too much salt,” Grandma said. “I think I’ll roll out a long play-dough snake.”

Celie laughed. “And I’m going to make some windshield wipers for your glasses.”

[Family Traditions]

Elder Robert D. Hales

“Build family traditions. … Help [our children] create happy memories, improve their talents, and build their feelings of self-worth.” Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Strengthening Families: Our Sacred Duty,” Ensign, May 1999, 33.

[illustrations] Illustrations by Elise Black