Usually by 5 a.m. I am on the yoga mat. Not this morning. This morning I was elbow deep in pie pastry.
As part of a fundraiser for the local United Way, I donated a promissory note for two homemade pies. The winner (my boss – but no pressure) decided today was the day to cash in his prize.
As I rolled out the pastry, my mind wandered back through the decades. Much of our family history can be told with pies.
There’s the now legendary tale of my oldest brother, who – as a toddler – plunked his diapered bottom into the middle of a pie at a family picnic. Everyone ate it anyway; apparently taste-wise, it was none the worse for wear.
I smile and think of Garth, an old family friend who had an unencumbered enthusiasm for good home cooking, especially my mom’s. It was a given that there would be pies on the menu when he came for dinner. He always had at least two slices (one of each kind).
Pies marked the seasons of my childhood…June meant rhubarb and strawberry; July was blueberry and cherry; August peach; September apple; October pumpkin. And on it went through to the mincemeat pies of Christmas.
There’s the apple pie I made for the first Thanksgiving feast I hosted after leaving home. One of my guests misbehaved and I had to ask him to leave, but the pie dissolved my anger. Even I was surprised at how tasty it was.
There are sweet memories of making pies with my own children; Alan, age four, perched precariously on a red IKEA chair so he could reach the counter to roll out pastry; two-year old Iris gleefully mucking about with her hands in Alan’s freshly baked pie; Jamie, also age two, looking pleased as punch with himself as he finger painted the dining room wall with blueberry pie filling.
As I finished making this morning’s pies, I poked vent holes…A for the apple/cranberry pie, and P for the peach/cranberry.
I looked at my handiwork. AP. Alice Patterson. Pie maker extraordinaire.
Mom, I think you would be pleased.