Below is an essay I was going to submit to a contest where the entry is to write about a pie that
changed your life. Unfortunately, I was quick to set my fingers to the keys, I didn't check the
entry deadline first . . . September 3rd. Oh bother, well I guess that's what I get for being overly
A Storybook Pie . . . When I think back to being a child, and all the luscious things that brought me to truly hold pie in my head as the crème de la crème of creations, it was the pie I read about in “Farmer Boy” from Laura Ingles Wilder’s Little House series. It wasn’t just one, it was a pantry full, a shelf lined with pies and doughnuts and cookies. It was the pies that the book describes, eaten for lunch, eaten with cream, taken on picnics. It was the pie that in my mind would someday be at my own picnic, by a lake, by a creek, or on a grassy field. The mastery was of the sort that only happens when you truly need pie. This is not a bakery that turns out a dozen perfectly colored specimens a day. It was a pie with hand crumbled flour and butter, rolled with a grandmothers rolling pin, placed in a wood stove oven, and eaten with the knowledge that these were the last of the peaches and blueberries until the Earth made round again and summer blessed the weary farmer.
I began making piecrust when I was about twelve-years-old. My mother was afraid, as great of a cook as she is, of the difficult delicacy in preparing a pie dough. My father, being a believer in truly healthy eating, shied away from white flour and butter alike. I remember my mother purchasing whole grain wheat flour that was of a whiter variety, hoping this would curb my desire to bake with the unholy whiteness that adorns our shelves in so many nations. But refined white flour hosts its own beauty that cannot be matched or replicated. It is the consistency that holds the bar above alternative grains. At twelve my seriousness weighed in on the decisionary process, and I don’t quiet remember how, but we ended up with a jar of flour suitable for real pie-making. Such things are not forgotten easily. I rejoiced in my new freedom of experiment, and baked with the gusto of a young pony newly at pasture. I have since spent countless hours trying to create a perfect gluten-free option. And although I have come close to beautiful success, the truth be told, nothing beats the storybook pie with real white flour and in season fruit.