Thursday, September 18, 2008

National Pie Championship Airs on Sunday

Calling all pie bakers! This Sunday, hang up your aprons and snuggle up on the couch for a night of delicious TV when the Food Network broadcasts its premiere of the 2008 APC Crisco National Pie Championships
Sunday, September 21st
8 PM, Eastern, Pacific Times
7 PM, Central Time

The show will have additional airings, so if you miss Sunday, check here for alternative times.
Or, if you're like me and you despise having television on in your house, here's an even better idea: Host your own Pie Baking Contest!
To do this, buy Barbara Swell's fabulous book, The Lost Art of Pie Making Made Easy in which she gives you step-by-step instructions for contest set-up, from costume ideas to prize categories. You can get a sneak peak at some her pages on Google Books, but you'll love her writing so much you'll want your very own copy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tragedy Befalls the Pecan Tree

BEFORE
The harvest season is nearing. The pecans were ripening right on schedule (see "Pecans in Progress") and I was still holding onto my fantasy of being able to pad down the hallway in my bare feet to pluck the nuts off the tree inside our house for my homemade pecan pie (I mean, how much more home-made can you get?!). But disaster struck! First in the form of an almost imperceptible tiny white bug that was causing the leaves to shrivel up and drop, then in a dark brown fungus-like growth that not only covered the remaining leaves but started spreading onto the clay-tile floor. I consulted the manager of the pecan ranch, who happened to knock on the door last week asking if I would sign a petition to stop the Saturday afternoon ATV races on the other side of the ranch. Now I didn't really mind the ATV races, in spite of the four solid afternoon hours of revving, roaring engines, because at least they were confined to an established track instead of ripping up wilderness areas and terrorizing wild animals, but I signed my name and then asked if he would come inside and have a look at our sick tree.

AFTER
The ranch manager rattled off all kinds of horticultural terms in high-speed Spanish and I just stood there and nodded, clueless. Basically I got that a tree does not belong inside a house, it needs light, and oxygen, and water. I explained to him the tree had survived for five years inside already. Until now. I got his phone number and had my landlord call him to get the full explanation. The next thing I know, Carlos, the landlord's son, comes over with his pruning tools. And that is the end of my pecan dreams. Well, not really. Because there are about eight hundred more trees outside, including three in my yard, there's no need to despair. We will still be up to our eyeballs in pecan pie come November.

Also, to soothe our sorrow over the nakedness of the tree, we were assured that the leaves will grow back. "Yeah, like in one or two years from now?" I asked him sarcastically. (We are only here until spring when my husband gets transferred again.) "No, maybe in one month," Carlos answered. Keeping in mind this is Mexico, where things don't happen with any sense of urgency, it remains to be seen how the pecan tree will fare. If it was a Type-A New York City variety I might have a little more confidence.

Stay tuned. I will continue to post updates on the progress--of the pecan trees and everything else.