I did it! I did it! Yesterday I drove myself to the pool, swam, showered, got dressed & drove myself back home! This is Major Hand Progress. On the other hand (er… no pun intended…) I was totally exhausted for the entire rest of the day, could not do anything but lie on the couch under a down comforter, watching Oprah, & ended up in bed before 9pm. In fact I am still tired today. So maybe I shouldn’t make this a habit quite yet. But it was totally thrilling to realize that I can, in fact, choose to take myself swimming when other modes of transport are unavailable. I’ve been relying heavily upon the generosity of Swimming Kitty’s Swim Team Carpool—Swimming Kitty is so sweet to cart me back & forth all the time, & she won’t even let me give her gas money!—but of course, she can’t always go swimming when I can/want to, & as all swimmers know, sometimes you just gotta swim!

On my way back from the pool, wanting to flex my newfound driving independence—& also knowing I would be too tired to fix myself lunch at home—I stopped at Bakesale Betty’s. Betty’s chicken pot pies have been the subject of great speculation & fantasy, ever since our first visit there many months ago, when we witnessed the piemaking in progress. (That was also the time Betty’s husband gave each of us an entire slice of banana bread!) For one reason & another, I never got to taste the elusive chicken pot pies until yesterday, when I asked, “Is there anything lunchish?” & heard the wonderful, music-to-my-ears reply “We have chicken pot pies, fresh out of the oven!”

So, any time you anticipate such a thing for so long, there is always the distinct possibility of dissappointment, is there not? Well, good news: Betty’s chicken pot pies are everything a chicken pot pie should be, & those are not words you should take lightly, coming from me. First of all: the crust. This is real live, genuine pie pastry, not some shortbread/cobbler/whatever kind of cheaper & easier excuse for pastry. You get the real deal both on the top & on the bottom thus preserving the entirely-enclosed integrity of the pie. How many so-called chicken pot pies out there try to pass themselves off with only a top crust? Feh!

Okay, then, the filling: the chicken is not (as you find too often) overcooked cardboardy white meat. On the contrary, it is perfectly done, in nice big plentiful chunks. You also get nice big chunks of carrots & celery, & the rich sauce is blessedly cornstarch-free. Best of all for me, Betty has a very restrained hand with the pepper. Don’t know why, but a lot of inexpensive lunch foods, especially soups (I could go on about this) & basically anything with a sauce (which includes pot pies), suffer from way too much pepper—perhaps an attempt to compensate for the lack of actual, authentic flavor?—so it is rare indeed to find such unpeppered perfection.

The size is right: enough for a hearty lunch, but not so big that you feel stuffed, & the price is right too: $5 for Everything a Chicken Pot Pie Should Be. I was very, very happy indeed.