It’s fun – and can be rather helpful – to have a trademark, something that you love that represents you, something that makes it easy for people to buy birthday and Christmas presents for you. My dad has two signature themes: sailing and martinis, so if you see a pair of socks with embroidered sailboats or martinis you automatically buy them for him. (With five kids buying him presents twice a year – three if you count Father’s Day – you can imagine how full his drawer is with socks.) For my sister it’s anything Harley-Davidson related. For my brother it was frogs – until he redecorated his house last year, pared down his Kermit collection, and therefore put a moratorium on any more frog gifts. For me it used to be daisies, or anything that was the color pink, which often resulted in gifts of – SURPRISE – pink daisies! While I still love daisies (and am still waiting for Prince Charming to buy me a pair of daisy diamond earrings like the ones Melissa got at Tiffany’s…HINT!), daisies have been replaced by pie. Now for gifts people give me pie dishes, aprons, pie books, etc. (please, no pie-shaped diamond earrings!), but I wonder if this pie thing is getting out of control. Whenever someone sees pie they think of me – and then they have to tell me about it. And then I feel compelled to blog about it. And then someone else reads it and emails me their pie story. And I have to share that too. I think you see the pattern forming here. Earlier this week it was Eve in Switzerland. Today it was my brother who is currently in Costa Rica, where he owns a vacation home (which he rents out – contact details here). He writes:
Was thinking of you while on the trip….there is a shortage of apple pie in Playa Negra. There’s a restaurant my friends enjoy going to there. They only make the pie once in a while.
I still like the coconut cream pie in Tamarindo. [He's referring to Nogui's Sunset Cafe.]
How am I supposed to respond to that? I can’t clone myself and fly to Playa Negra. I have pies to bake here in Texas. My fellow Terlingua residents need me. I have triggered their hunger for pie, and now I have to satiate it.
It doesn’t stop there. Also today, my friend Mariana emailed me from Malibu. She had emailed me on Sunday, offering me a job with the new Web site she’s launching. I had meant to get back to her right away, so when I saw her name in my inbox I thought, “Oops.” (My answer being: “Thank you so much, but I love my pie-baking life in Far West Texas.”) But she wasn’t emailing to remind me about the job. She was emailing me about – yes! – PIE! She had seen Williams-Sonoma advertising “Pocket Pies” and sent me the link. I checked it out right away – what cute little mini-pies these are, like pie sandwiches that you can hold in your hand. Exclusively yours for $17 for two pie molds, plus shipping. (Here's the cherry pie recipe that comes with it, for no extra charge.)
I won’t be ordering them anytime soon, mainly because I like the concept of improvising. For example, I went to buy chocolate chip ice cream for Mimi’s dad when he was visiting last month, and when I asked the convenience store clerk if he had this flavor he came back to me with a container of vanilla ice cream and a bag of chocolate chips. “This is what we do around here,” he said. “We improvise.”
Besides the fact I subscribe to that philosophy, I am also faced with the limitation of having no mailing address where these little pie forms can be sent. UPS will actually deliver to the door of my rock shack – 102 Easy Street. (Amazing to think what kinds of make-shift residences a UPS driver in Far West Texas sees out here – Airstream trailers, lean-tos, straw-bale houses, rock shacks like mine… “We improvise!”) Betty, my landlady, informed me Terlingua didn’t have street names until after 9/11, when residents were forced to declare physical, TRACEABLE addresses. As for receiving mail by post, I haven’t made the commitment to getting my own post office box yet, and a post office box is the only way you can get “real” mail delivered here. That day may come, but with daily temperatures reaching 105 and cooling to a low of 90-something at night (not to mention, the ongoing daily vigilance of avoiding rattlesnakes and the many other venomous creatures I imagine to be lurking in between the rocks of my shack), I’m still holding out on taking any major steps -- like getting a mailbox.
PHOTO CREDIT: John Comte (Thank you for letting me use this without permission!)
Meanwhile, I do have an email address, so in spite of my jabs about being bombarded with pie stories, please know I AM ONLY KIDDING. I want to hear every pie story there is to be told out there. I want to hear about every pie sighting. I want to know every one of your pie-related experiences. I want you to keep thinking of me when you see pie. And, last but not least, I want those daisy diamond earrings!
beth AT bethmhoward DOT com
beth AT bethmhoward DOT com