Presidents’ Day is approaching and what comes to mind when we hear the name George Washington? First President? Revolutionary War General? Mount Vernon? Nope, it’s cherries and cherries mean PIE! Pies have been around a lot longer than the founding of America dating back to the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks. The first written apple pie recipe was documented in England in 1381.
Although Pi Day is actually in March on 3.14, February is the Great American Pie Month and Feb. 20 is Cherry Pie Day. Whatever the holiday, you can’t go wrong celebrating with a pie! What’s your favorite kind of pie? Is it a double crust filled with cherries or peaches or apples? How about the sweet/tart flavor of lemon meringue or key lime? Maybe a creamy, rich chocolate silk. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie smothered with whipped cream or a crunchy, gooey pecan pie.
Let’s whet our appetites with a little pie fiction. How about a cozy pie mystery? Joanne Fluke could be the queen of this genre with 25 books such as the “Blackberry Pie Murder” and the “Banana Cream Pie Murder.” Ellery Adams has the Charmed Pie Shoppe mysteries including “Pies & Prejudice” and “Peach Pies & Alibis.” Our younger readers might enjoy some picture books such as “All for Pie, Pie for All” by David Martin or “More Pies!” by Robert Munsch. Newberry winner Sarah Week’s book just titled “Pie” is a story about family, friends and pie. What’s not to like!
If those put you in the mood for the real thing, check out some of our cookbooks! Browse the stacks in the area of 641.865 and you’ll find “Pie,” “The Art of Pie,” “Bubby’s Homemade Pies,” “America’s Best Harvest Pies” and two claiming to be “The Perfect Pie.” They cover the basics for making the perfect crust along with traditional and not so traditonal fillings. Some are strictly recipes while others bring memories of pies and pie bakers to life. Just looking at the covers can make you hungry. Should want to try a little savory before the sweet there’s one called “Pot Pie” and many pizza pie cookbooks. A compilation of memoirs and recipes called “Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie” includes a story about a BiCentennial Pie that is set in Troy, Kan. There’s a lot to learn from reading cookbooks and a whole lot to enjoy when you take the next step, heat up the oven, pull out your favorite pie plate and start creating.
And speaking of pie plates, a few years ago we were cleaning out the kitchen cupboards at my mother’s house and discovered she had 10 pie plates. Our family is divided into pie bakers, skills passed on by Mom, and pie lovers, a trait inherited from Dad. That year at Christmas, I sent a pie plate to each of the six grandkids along with a card from their grandmother and the following note.
“It’s just a pie plate, not an antique or fine china. But when you think about all the cherry pies and pumpkin pies and pineapple pecan pies that have been served up from this humble dish, its value can’t be measured. It’s been to many a church dinner and family gathering and was vital in satisfying your Grandpa’s pie addiction!
“So remember the pie stories — how Tuffy (our dog) tiptoed his way amongst a back seat full of pies so he could lay in his spot in the back window of the car; how sugar ants in the meringue didn’t ruin the day when friends came to pay their respects after your Grandpa had died; how your Grandpa liked to slide a slice of pumpkin pie right into his hand and skip the plate, fork and whipped cream!
“When your Grandma made a pie, along with the Fluffo and flour, the cherries and sugar, a lot of love went into each one. This pie plate is full of her love and her hope that you fill it with pies and love for years to come.”
No matter what kind of pie you decide to make, whether it has a fancy lattice crust, a perfectly browned meringue or is a crust filled with pumpkin and spice, be sure to add a little love. It makes the sharing even sweeter.