Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Pleasures of Pie

My fascination with pie, and the tendency to indulge that fascination, came upon me abruptly. I don't know the exact moment it happened, but I would say it occurred within the last four to six weeks. For reasons unknown to me, I have become moderately obsessed (say what?) with pie. Not all pie. Mincemeat, my favorite from my childhood, is no longer high on my list. And the pies shown in these images are not the kind over which I obsess. No, the pies with which I am profoundly fascinated are these: cherry, apple, pecan, and peach (not cobbler, pie!). There may be others, but I am not sure. Oh! I'm partial to rhubarb pie, too, though I've only had a few pieces in my life and none recently. So my affinity for rhubarb pie may be a function of memory playing tricks on me. I mean, I could have a piece right now and might loathe it. In fact, come to think of it, it may be a little too sweet for my taste. But then it may not be sweet at all. And since we're talking sweet here, is that not what pie is all about? I do not have much of a sweet tooth, though I tend not to turn up my nose at cookies and candy. But cake? I can do without it. Pie, though, is like nectar of the gods. Assuming, of course, that I am gods and it is my nectar (are my nectar? I mean, since we're talking plural here).

The pie in the top photo is a lemon pie, which was very good, but lemon pie and its cousins lack something I like: chewable substance. Lemon pie just fills my mouth with flavor. The crust adds a shade of substance, but not quite enough for my liking. I like a bit of "meat" to my pie. Which leads me, inexorably, to another favorite pie: steak and kidney. But that's another story. For me, "pie" immediately calls up something that goes extraordinarily well with coffee. Steak and kidney in a crust does not do that. But it's known as pie and I will not argue the point. But for the purposes of this treatise, I will ignore steak and kidney pie, if that's alright with you.

The bottom photo is a coconut pie, a coconut cream pie to be precise (if I am correct, which may not be the case). It was very good, too. While it also lacked the degree of substance that I enjoy, the little slivers of coconut gave me something to chew on, which satisfied my oral fixation a bit better than did the lemon pie. With the way I've been describing these two pieces of pie, you'd think I did not truly appreciate them. I did! I enjoyed them immensely! But they were not exceptional pies the way an apple can be. You know, an apple pie with firm chunks of apple that require your teeth to work a bit.

Back to my fascination with pie. It just took me by surprise. I have always enjoyed pie, but did not seek it out; I was satisfied to have a piece on rare occasions when someone else decided to buy or build one. But suddenly I am on a mission. When I drive by a funky little diner, I am just as likely to swerve into the parking lot with pie as my purpose as I am to check it out for what I call "diner food," which is a term I cannot define well so I will not try here, lest I go off course entirely and head in a direction not anticipated as I began writing this.

I do not know why pie is on my list of priorities of late. But it is. And when I think of pie, I cannot help but think of riding along with my father, as a kid (me, not him), on his trips to visit lumber yards around south Texas. He would stop and visit with the lumber yard owner and write up an order for a carload of lumber (my father was a lumber wholesaler) and then, as often as not, he would take me to a local diner for a piece of pie. We ate pie in several small towns in south Texas. Now I wonder if my recent excursions into pie-seeking is related to my recollections of my youth and my attempt to regain a foothold on memories long since lost. If that were the case, my fascination with pie could be a symptom of unresolved psychological issues or, perhaps, even some sort of psychosis the likes of which I have never faced before.

More likely, I think, I just like pie and have come to realize there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Except, of course, for the calories. I'll have to work on that.

1 comment:

YourFireAnt said...

Oh... pie me ! please.