According to an e-mail I just got, I’ve been around these Tumblr parts for about 4 years? Crazy.
I remember where I was at when I started this blog. It was not a good place. Lots of dudes, moves, happenings later — I’m still here. This space serves a slightly different purpose these days but back then, it helped me through some serious heartbreak.
Now, things are good for the most part. I turned 28 not too long ago and man, being 2 years away from 30 has made me make some seriously goals. Traveling goals, that is. I want to spend my 30th year in Antarctica. I just started a little fund for it. Let’s see if I can do it!
I can’t remember the last time I made a pie. It was more than a year ago, at least. Baking is a chemistry experiment; easy to screw up and difficult to salvage, at least for beginners. I’m getting better about this as I get older, but: I don’t love to do things to which I’m not naturally inclined. And so, I don’t bake much. I definitely don’t bake pie much. There’s the business of the crust, rolling it out if you make it, the filling of the crust, the not burning of it. As opposed to making brownies: a homogeneous sludge of ingredients poured into a pan all at once. And if you a burn it a little bit, all the better.
My maternal grandmother always told me that I, like her, had hot little hands (I did and do) and that I’d never be able to make pie. The crust, its coolness being crucial, would melt in our palms. I took this in the folksy way in which it was intended but I still think of it when I’m working dough with my hands.
My mom bakes occasionally but was never the ‘sweet treats’ type of lady, or mom, or whatever. There are certain dishes of hers that I desperately love, but I wouldn’t describe her as being a killer cook. She was a functional cook, a mother of three who worked full-time. She had a system, you know? It wasn’t adventurous or playful. It was dinner.
My mom tracked down a copy of her favorite pie recipe book on eBay, now long out-of-print. It’s called “Country Pies: A Seasonal Sample” by Lisa Yockelson, originally published in 1988. The first chapter is “Summer Country Pies”, and it goes on to cover the other seasons in order. Mom gave it to me when I was at their house today, and told me she didn’t feel like waiting for Christmas.
So: I don’t bake much, and she doesn’t bake much, but she gave me this all-pie cookbook like I knew what it was supposed to mean. Was this a conversation she had had with someone else, about this cookbook, that she mapped onto me for some reason? Did she remember that in junior high, my friend group had a brief adolescent obsession with pie, initially (I think?) because of a band called The Pietasters, which snowballed into doodles of pie slices on textbook covers, iron-on t-shirt transfers, and a request to buy the domain pieisgood dot com?
These recipes are not modern, and some of them verge on boring. And flipping through it, I really wanted to make and eat some pie!! I wanted to get fat as fuck off of boring ’80s “country” pies.
Some friends were making enchiladas for dinner tonight and I was able to quickly produce a spiced pear and currant pie (“Fall Country Pies”) for dessert. It wasn’t gorgeous but plenty of people went back for seconds and thirds. I wrapped some in foil for boyfriends and will take the rest to work tomorrow.
More pie, you guys. Pie is good. Dot com.