Thanksgiving Day? How about Thanksgiving LIFE?
Living in Park City is an exercise in daily gratitude… for my life. That I am raising two boys with a love of the mountains, a love of skiing, alongside a spouse who appreciates it as much as I do is a gift. It’s always touching and amusing to hear the “I’m Thankful For…” moments at our Thanksgiving table, because they may include things like, “fresh powder,” and “new skis,” and “Star Wars Lego sets!” which perfectly offset my emotional mush ball moment of praising the virtues of each of my children—I’m generally overwhelmed with gratitude for their health, their dad’s, my own, and all eight of my children’s grandparents and two great-grandparents. The blessings are plentiful—and it feels like bad luck to count them.
However, it doesn’t escape me that the blessings are many outside my home as well. Like the fact that I get to make friends with likeminded folks—from my ski-buddy-moms to Deer Valley’s celebrated pastry chef, Letty Flatt.
Yesterday, I walked into the buzzing Snow Park Bakery, and found four bakers hard at work. Letty took time out of the pie-making rush to introduce me to her hardworking team–-including a new-to-DV baker, Sung Yup (favorite Thanksgiving tradition: “Playing football with my friends.”) Given that the team had 58 pies on order when I arrived (and 60 when I left, since my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner is ordering the pies), the hands were much-needed.
Letty (favorite Thanksgiving Tradition: “Skiing Snowbird on fresh powder.” Deer Valley, of course, doesn’t open til December. See below for Letty’s DV favorites.) was quick to offer me a ginger snap cookie—made from the gingersnap pie crust she uses for the pumpkin pies. “The recipe is my sister-in-law’s,” she told me. “Gingersnap crust and orange zest in the filling. Look, Dana is rolling out gingersnap crust over there, Sung Yup is working on regular crust—wait, let’s get your order, now.”
What’s amazing to me about Letty, who has worked at Deer Valley since Day One, is that she isn’t frenetic in her demeanor. Everything is organized, matter-of-fact. “I like people, so I like the bakery when there are about five people, each with their own project, each with our own space,” she said, reaching for a bowl of cream that was poised to go into a test wedding cake for a bride and groom. “But some days, we’re so busy we have six or more crammed around the work stations.”
Back to my pie order—she and Debbie who heads up the Snow Park bakery operations, gently guided me to their favorites.
“You should try the Apple-Cheddar pie, it’s something special,” said Debbie.
“No pumpkin?” Letty wondered, as if to say WHY?
“Chocolate silk,” I said. “It will make my eight year-old so happy.”
“He’s the one who likes the chocolate cup at the Seafood Buffet, right?”
Letty’s love for people is evident in her recall of certain people’s dessert preferences.
Nervous my family would revolt at the idea of cheese invading their favorite pie, I ordered a simple apple pie, instead. Still, as a Vermonter, the idea of some cheddar in there was appealing.
Debbie then handed me a wrapped-up bundle of Snow Park Bakery dog treats. “It’s Bark City,” she said. “We bake for the whole family here.”
Needless to say, I was very popular when I arrived home later that night. Letty had sent me off with a care package of Deer Valley cookies. Once all were plied with treats, I floated the idea of the Cheddar Apple Pie. The notion was greeted with a resounding, “Yum!” I made a note to call Debbie the next morning and change my order. And when I did, she didn’t laugh—she sounded, however, utterly pleased.
And, dear reader, I did not leave without getting Letty Flatt’s Deer Valley
Ideal ski day: “I’m with my husband, of course, and there is 8” minimum of fresh powder. We’re on the first chair. We ski Empire, because it has the best snow—it’s the only part of the mountain that gets the Lake Effect snow from Salt Lake City. And we go, go, go until about 11:30And then home.”
Crack of Noon Club: “We have very social ski days, too. We meet friends, but we compete to see who can arrive the latest.”
Favorite food: “The whole wheat crust pizza at Silver Lake—it’s vegetarian, and I love it.”
Favorite DV indulgence: “Mariposa’s desserts. And, I have to say, I tend to always gravitate toward the Seafood Buffet. We have guests who will go there more than once during a vacation, so we make sure to mix up the menus a couple of times a week.”