Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apple of My Pie

The most memorable experiences involving me and a piece of pie:

Alison baked a blueberry crumble pie for my birthday a few years back. It was sweltering in Philadelphia, and after having drinks at a fancy white bar, a group of us piled into Mary and Ron's car to go get Tony Luke's pulled-pork hoagies in South Philly. We capped off the night by returning to my Trinity House and busting out Alison's pie and milk. A glorious nightcap to a night of eating and drinking with good friends.

Alison roadtripped to Michigan with me a couple of months later and made a variation on this recipe. Since it was peach festival time, she whipped up a couple of peach pies in the kitchen with my mom. Since it was raining, we ate them in the garage on a long picnic table covered with a plastic red-and-white checked tablecloth. It was just the thing to eat while listening to my stepdad Jim talk about dousing a wasps' nest in gasoline. "That sucker burned for four days." Yeah, yeah, whatever. The memory of that pie will keep me warm for a whole lot longer.

Whenever I make the trek over to Whidbey Island, I stop at the Whidbey Winery, which sells all sorts of island-produced wines. But it also sells a magnificent marionberry pie. Tart and sweet, it's just the thing you want after a long day in the car. Some (Kerry, Rob, and Laurel: I'm talking about you) prefer to heat up pie for a few minutes, but I like mine chilled with a cold glass of milk or a dollop of ice cream on the side.

I don't know what's in shoo-fly pie, but I can tell you, after flea marketing in Shipshewana all day, a thick slice of this buttery, sugary pie hits the spot. Find yourself an Amish restaurant in Indiana and order some up.

I love Dutch apple pie and I made a variation on this last Thanksgiving. Armed with a dough recipe from my new book (The Prairie Girl's Guide to Life), I made a granny smith apple pie but included dried cherries in the filling. Since we were all so full, I plated it by serving tiny slivers on white dessert plates with some French vanilla ice cream. Top Chef, eat your heart out. Or rather, eat this pie.

When I was a kid, Grandma Worick used to pop in around once a week. "Woo hoo, Jenny, John, Chris. I made some chocolate pie!" she'd exclaim in her thick German accent. Chocolate pie was a flaky pie crust with a whole lot of chocolate pudding dumped into it. We didn't complain. We just shoved it down our pieholes.

A lovely boy (who obviously knows me very well) sent me a cherry pie (shipped all the way from Iowa!) for my birthday (which is tomorrow). Breakfast this morning, as you can imagine, consisted of pie and milk. It's going to be a good day. Pie and affection are part of it, after all.

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