|Like a Miss America pageant, only pie.|
The woman who held the party-slash-pie contest, Carolyn, lives in a neighboring town to mine. She and her twin sister Marilyn and their friend had stopped by my Pitchfork Pie Stand this summer and bought a few slices. Carolyn had been a regular follower of my blog, so when she discovered I was living close by she initiated the outing to the American Gothic House. And now, she claims, I was also the inspiration behind her pie party.
She even included a quote from me in her Pie Palooza email invitation prefacing it with "Why We Should All Bake Pies," leaving me to explain:
“Pie makes people happy. Happy people want to do nice things for others. When everyone is doing nice things for each other all the time there can be no war, and therefore pie can save the world.”
(She found the quote in Gina Hyams' "Pie Contest in a Box," and was using Gina's kit for the party.)
It wasn't until all the emails had gone out that Marilyn suggested to Carolyn, "Why not invite the pie lady?"
Carolyn replied, "She's so busy. She probably won't come. But okay, I'll send her an invitation." To Carolyn's surprise I immediately said yes.
She's right. I am busy. But I'm also home alone all day every day sitting at my desk in my bathrobe and taking breaks only to walk my dogs or, on a really good day, ride my bike. What Carolyn didn't consider is that while I love my solitude (it's essential for both my productivity and creativity), I am often very deprived of human contact. I get a little tired of having the same daily conversations with my dogs. Their part of the dialog is limited to "We want to go out. We want to come in. It's time for our breakfast. It's time for our snack. It's time for our dinner." Along with the occasional, "Could you please fluff up the sofa pillows?"
So to venture out on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of an Iowa winter -- an actual reason to get dressed! And brush my hair! -- came as a very welcome change of routine. And, hello? Eating pie with a dozen or so other women? This also sounded like great fun.
|A pie sampler. Also a sugar high. And potential ensuing stomach ache.|
Another was a "Spin-Off Boston Cream Pie" and I'm not sure what was the spin, though it may have been the sugar cookie crust. There was a Chocolate Mousse pie, a No-Bake Key Lime pie, a Rum Pecan pie, a Lemon Chess pie, and a Pumpkin-Pecan Streusel pie. There was Carolyn's Sour Cherry pie with an all-butter crust, her mother's favorite. (Her mom is 92, living in Ohio, and Carolyn sent photos to her during the afternoon so she could see the festivities.) The cherry was my personal blue-ribbon pick. I ate a whole slice of it.
And there was one that surprised the hell out of me because I liked it so much: a Pineapple-Mango pie with....drum roll....a gluten-free crust! I am a person who flees in horror from the sight of anything marked "GF." But this crust had a slightly sweet and crunchy texture reminiscent of a crumble topping. And I love crumble topping. And I loved this pie. I had at least four bites.
After sampling all the pies we were asked to write down on a scrap of paper the number of our one favorite. This is always a challenge to choose only one. They were all good. Excellent, in fact. Outstanding. And none had a store-bought crust! They were all made at home. With love. And sugar.
And the winners are....The envelope please.
I understood why Bev's Cranberry Raisin won. It was one of those anomalies, not love at first bite, but you found something compelling about it so, curious, you went back for a second bite. And then a third. Maybe it was the mouth-puckering tartness followed by a pleasing aftertaste of sweetness that caused the "I want more, I need more" reaction. It's the same thing that caused me to vote for a Strawberry-Margarita pie at the Iowa State Fair one year. I wasn't sure I liked it at first, and then I couldn't stop eating it. And now I am STILL thinking about it. Those kind of pies don't come along every day. Kind of like people. Or boyfriends. Or books.
Speaking of books...
|Note that everyone removed their shoes.|
I was so relieved I had worn socks with no holes.
That closet cleaning project over Christmas paid off.
I have a feeling the Second Annual Pie Palooza won't have the wide variety of flavors they had this year. But my guess is, seeing how everyone expressed their own individuality in their slightly exotic, beautifully decorated, gorgeous and delicious pies, when they all show up next year bringing the same "Lana Ross's Better Than Sex French Silk Pie" each one will have its own unique style and taste. And they will all be winners.