“Men may come and men may go…..but Pie goes on for ever.”
George Augustus Sala, British journalist.
‘America Revisited’ (1882)
The first use of the word “Pie” can be traced back to 1303. “The derivation of the word may be from magpie, shortened to pie. The explanation offered in favor of this is that the magpie collects a variety of things, and that it was an essential feature of early pies that they contained a variety of ingredients”
Pies were baked by early settlers because they did not need a special oven and you could stretch the most meager ingredients into feeding more mouths.
My mother and grandmother often baked pies, savory and sweet, with ease. I always found making crust a challenge and not worth my time. Pillsbury frequently came to my rescue and soon became an acceptable method.
That was until I meet Mr. Klose. About 3 weeks into our courting phase I decided it was time that I showed off my cooking skills. We planned to have dinner with my family on a Friday night. The week was difficult and I found myself leaving work after 5:30 pm and without a plan for dinner. So in a panic I ran by the store, bought a ready-made crust, put it in my pie pan, threw a meat and cheese quiche together, fixed a toss salad, and took a left over cake out of the freezer.
I was quite pleased with the results and felt he enjoyed the meal. The following week I went to his house for supper. We had steaks, baked potatoes, tossed salad, and garlic toast. I thought for a man he had done very well, in fact the steak was one of the best I had ever eaten. He got up from the table and went back into the kitchen for the dessert. I’m all the while wondering what kind of dessert he has bought for us. Soon he brings out a two crust strawberry pie. The crust was obviously homemade, as tender and flaky as I’ve ever seen and the strawberries were perfectly sweetened and from his garden. As he serves me my pie I note a very superior grin on his face and know I have been bested!
Over the years he has taken the time to teach me the art of “making crust” and I have been a good pupil. I will never do it with the same ease but I have learned that practice is the only way to improve and become relaxed with your crust.
No crust comes out perfect or the same each time and they all need a little patching.
Now I make pies for friends and family and nothing is more fun than watching someone study my list of pies with the intensity of a child trying decide what he wants for Christmas. Then there is such satisfaction in seeing the delight of this same person when they open the white box that holds their favorite pie. Such fun!
“But I, when I undress me Each night, upon my knees Will ask the Lord to bless me
With apple-pie and cheese.” Eugene Field, Apple-Pie and Cheese