“You need to learn to share.”  How many times did I hear that as a child?  How many times did I say it to my children?  I couldn’t even begin to tell you.  I have also uttered that phrase on countless occasions when I have been in charge of children, whether I was either teaching them or babysitting.  This week I am going to write about sharing.

There are some things I don’t want people to share with me.  Colds.  Tummy bugs.  Too much personal information from persons I don’t know very well.  Stuff I am allergic to, like chocolate.  Other things need to be shared, but I don’t wish to hear them; things such as bad news.  I have to listen to them, even though I would rather not.

I remember an eventful day that occurred a lot of years ago.  My oldest child had just completed kindergarten.  Chickenpox had run rampant through his class right at the end of school that spring; I considered it fortunate that no one had shared it with him.  Or so I thought.  About two weeks into summer break, Jonathan came up to me one morning and showed me spots that had broken out all over his body.  While I was dealing with him, my second son did some sharing of his own.

Adam, for some reason, decided to get a bottle of Lime-A-Way® cleaner that I had neglected to put away.  He squirted some of the pale yellow-colored liquid into a cup and gave it to his younger sister, Molly, telling her that it was Mountain Dew®.    My two-year-old daughter believed her brother and proceeded to drink some.  I still consider it a blessing that Molly realized that it tasted terrible and didn’t swallow the vile substance that had invaded her mouth.  She was clever enough to spit it out.  However, I was not sure if any had managed to make it down her throat. 

Now I had another issue to deal with besides the knowledge that my older son had chickenpox.  I called the poison control center; they told me that I needed to take Molly to the emergency room to make sure there were no chemical burns in her esophagus.  This meant finding someone to stay with Jonathan while I took Molly.  I can’t remember if I took Adam or left him at home with Jonathan’s caregiver.  After a thorough examination, the ER doctor gave Molly a glass of milk and told her to drink it.  There was no sign of damage to her throat, just some minor places in her mouth that needed to heal. 

A younger Jonathan shared some information with me one evening.  “Mom, I have an unsalted peanut up my nose,”  he stated matter-of-factly.  Trying not to show him that I was quite disturbed, I questioned him about when it had happened.  I probably asked him why he did such a thing, but I don’t recall the reason if he gave me one.  I didn’t want to make a trip to the emergency room, so I endeavored to think of some way to help my son.  My husband, Bob, came home from work shortly after Jonathan’s revelation.  He held a tissue up to Jonathan’s nose and told him to blow really hard.  Thankfully, a damp, soggy legume was propelled out of one nostril, and we breathed a sigh of relief.

Those who read my column regularly are aware of the fact that one thing I like to share is stories.  Two motherhood moments I will never forget are related above.  Something else I enjoy sharing is food.  To go along with this, National Pie Day happens to be January 23, as easy to remember as 1/23.  In preparation for this theme, I baked two pie varieties when I had a friend over for dinner last week.  Ham-and-Tomato Pie was our main dish; we deemed it “excellent!”  Pineapple Pie was a new flavor for each of us as far as a hot fruit pastry goes.  I gave a piece to a neighbor the next day because I know she loves pineapple.  All three people agreed that the recipe is well-worth repeating. 

Knowing that many people can’t have a lot of sugar, I prepared a third recipe entitled “Sugarless Apple Pie.”  The finished product was quite tasty, although a little on the tart side.  I used Winesap apples; the pie may have been sweeter if I had used another variety.  There is no artificial sweetener involved.

Ham-and-Tomato Pie

1 (8-ounce) package diced cooked ham

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked (not deep-dish)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 cup (4 ounces) mozzarella cheese, divided

2 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 large egg

1/3 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Sauté ham and green onions in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until ham is browned and any liquid evaporates.

Brush bottom of pie shell evenly with mustard; sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.  Spoon ham mixture evenly over chees; top with single layer of sliced tomatoes. 

Beat egg and half-and-half with a fork until blended; pour over tomatoes.  Sprinkle evenly with basil, pepper, and remaining cheese.

Bake on lowest oven rack at 425 degrees for 20 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned and set.  Cool on wire rack 20 minutes.  Cut into wedges to serve.  Yield: 6 servings.

Pineapple Pie

Pastry for double crust 9-inch pie

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar (if using unsweetened pineapple, use 3/4 cup sugar)

1/2 cup evaporated milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Roll half of pastry to 1/8-inch thickness; fit into 9-inch pie pan.

Combine next 5 ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Remove from heat; add butter and lemon juice, stirring until butter melts.  Pour into pastry-lined pie pan.

Roll remaining pastry to 1/8-inch thickness.  Cover top of pie, tucking in edges and pressing to seal.  Cut slits in top crust to all steam to escape.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown.  Yield: 1 9-inch pie.

Sugarless Apple Pie

1 (12-ounce) can frozen apple juice concentrate, unsweetened

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 to 6 cups sliced apples

Pastry for double crust pie

2 tablespoons butter

In saucepan, cook apple juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using) until thick.  Add salt and stir.  Place apples in large bowl; pour apple juice mixture over them, tossing to coat.  Pour mixture into pie shell.  Dot with butter; cover with top crust.  Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes, covering edge of crust with foil during last 10 minutes if necessary.  Yield: 1 pie.

Apple Fried Pies

5 or 6 medium cooking apples

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1-1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

Vegetable oil for frying

Peel, core, and cut each apple into 1/2-inch or smaller cubes. In 2-quart saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch, and spices.  Add lemon juice, stirring until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in apples, tossing to coat with sugar mixture. Cover and cook apples over low heat until tender and bubbly, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.  Cool at room temperature 1 hour and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually stir in enough milk while mixing with fork until dough clings together.  Gather dough into ball; flatten and wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes or longer.

Cut chilled dough into 16 pieces. Shape each into a ball. With floured rolling pin on floured surface, roll dough into 4-1/2-inch circles.  Add about a rounded tablespoonful of apple filling in center of each circle. Moisten edge of dough with milk. Fold dough in half to form a semi-circle. Press curved edge with tip of floured fork to seal. Turn pie over; press edge on other side. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

In 3-quart heavy saucepan, heat about 1-1/2 inches of oil to 375 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer. Fry 2 or 3 pies at a time until golden brown, about 1 minute, turning occasionally with tongs. Drain on paper towels.