Pie is a big deal. Everyone has famous family recipes handed down for generations, or a Pinterest find they want to try. Last weekend I was invited to my neighbor’s annual pre-holiday “Pie Night” and I deliberated for days over which recipe to make.
A tried and true favorite or a recent discovery?
Fruit or chocolate?
Traditional or new age?
I chose my famous key lime pie, which was a crowd pleaser. A friend at the party even asked for the recipe to make for her Thanksgiving.
For some reason this is the time of year when our inner pastry chef emerges. Sure, the food magazines boast headlines in the spring about fresh pie ideas, but who makes pie in the spring? Fall and winter are for comfort food and pie is definitely a comfort food.
In fact, it’s kind of a magical food.
The mathematical constant used to define the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, which nobody understands or uses but Stephen Hawking, is named after it. In the new Broadway hit musical Waitress a woman’s homemade pies, and some catchy tunes written by Sara Bareilles, help her escape from a stalemate life. Jane Austen wrote, “Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” Then with true American arrogance, we claimed the medieval pastry to define our identity.
There’s a freakish connection between pies and guys. Just say the word “pie” to any man and you’ll instantly see the eager face of the boy he once was. Make him a pie and you could get the worst task on your honey-do list completed. My father and brother prefer birthday pie to birthday cake.
A pie offering once miraculously softened a stony heart and formed an unlikely friendship. A friend of mine was playing in a nearby field with her kids when a reclusive old crank obsessed with property lines thought she was trespassing (she wasn’t) and came out armed with a gun and some obscenities to scare her off what he thought was his property. Even though she wasn’t at fault, she left the premises to avoid further dispute in front of her frightened kids. She hurried home shaken and frustrated by the nerve of someone who would threaten a mother and her young children.
Wanting to defuse the incident for her kids, she talked it over with them. She admitted she was mad and having unkind thoughts about the neighbor, but she didn’t want to feel that way. She asked the kids what they thought they should do. One of her boys immediately answered, “Let’s make him a pie” (I told you, it’s a dude thing).
When Grumpy answered the door to the sweet mother, children and pie his icy heart melted, just like the Winter Warlock in that kinda creepy but endearing Christmas special. They became friends to the point she was somewhat of a caregiver for him in his final years.
Never underestimate the power of a good pie. Just think how different the classic story would have been if an insightful Who had trekked up the mountain and handed the Grinch a pie.