St Michael’s, Victoria Beach: Turkey pie team goes for gold

By Margaret Haddad

May -- turkey pies 001

Making turkey pot pies for St Michael’s Anglican Parish Church could be considered an Olympic event. It has all the elements of “going for gold” … an energized, enthusiastic group of talented individuals, working as a team, hoping to do as well as the last event — if not better. The “gold” is the money being raised for the church outreach by the sale of this precious (and tasty) inventory.

Just think of the similarities to the Olympic events and what it takes to make them happen. It starts with the dream – the inspiration and desire to achieve success. Then a plan – crafted to identify how to pull it off. All the elements are put in place: the team – it is a team event, for sure; the coach; amassing the necessary equipment; assessing the participants and their skills; scheduling preparation time and all leading up to “the big day”.

For several weeks in February, Canada and the world witnessed the personal stories of some of the Canadian athletes, with details of their journey to their goal – not unlike our team. Perhaps you may not see the comparison, so here is a more specific description of the “Turkey Pot Pie” Team event.

To start with, once we identified the dream (going for gold), we had to find the best coach (like Patrick Chan would); someone who had the experience to lead us to be the best we could be. We found Gail.

Yes it takes a village so we can feel the “roar of the rings” for accomplishing our goal – working as a team, even if it is just here at home, making turkey pies.

Next, like the bobsleigh team, we had to make sure to have the best equipment. In our case we bought big, juicy turkeys, ‘Made in Manitoba’ carrots; bags of frozen peas; the best gravy and pastry ingredients from Costco.

Finding the people to help with the pre-event work for athletes is most important – people like trainers, therapists, medical staff. Likewise, we had to find capable people too – with not only hundreds of cumulative years of food knowledge and experience, but having a diploma in food handling. And we did!

Getting ready took several grueling days of preparation – not much different from our Curling Teams, who had to throw rocks for 4 or 5 hours a day and work out in the gym. We roasted, peeled, chopped and boiled for hours the day preceding “the event”. And then it was subjected to intense inspection. Our coach, or “Skip” if you like, demanded our best pea-sized pieces only – nothing but pea-sized will cut it.

As if that was not enough planning to be ready, like the athletes, there was the outfit to be put together. And again, not part of the Olympic scoring, but nonetheless very important. We donned the hairnets, latex gloves and aprons – all mandatory and regulation. Like a figure skater needing sharp blades, this team was equipped with pot lids sized specifically to fit the tin pot pie forms.

Armed with rolling pins, spatulas, and lids, the “Front End” (if you see the curling analogy) began to produce the assembly line of shells. The part of the team chosen for this task was based more on stamina than finesse.

If this were considered a Relay event, the first hand off would be to “the filler” – the person with the all-important scoop to fill the pie shells with precision and just the right amount of filling. The second hand-off would be to the “back end” of the squad – the person putting the tops on, then passing to the people who are putting the cooking instructions into the bag along with the pie. Now the “sealers” grab the bags, regulate the number being put on a cookie sheet going through the final lap of this all-important mega-test of endurance. The “runner” is given the last task … to run the trays back to the freezer in the laundry room and announce the count! And everybody cheers!

Whether it is in a major Olympic event, or a small Victoria Beach kitchen, none of this would have happened if it were not for the people who were charged with getting the site ready, checking the equipment, and arranging the celebratory lunch.

Yes it takes a village so we can feel the “roar of the rings” for accomplishing our goal – working as a team, even if it is just here at home, making turkey pies.