I grew up in the MidWest, and fall is food. Just ridiculous amounts of wonderful stuff, like apples, homemade cinnamon donuts, hearty stews, savory soups, and the beginnings of pie season. Pie is simple-looking complexity.
Pie season? Damn Skippy. Fall is fruit, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and ginger. And making the house smell divine for an hour, then watching your vanilla ice cream slowly slump into nirvana on your warm slice of heaven.
To celebrate the season I invented, here’s a short snippet from To Walk in the World.
Back in February, when Brad offered to organize the Memorial, he booked a diner that their mother loved to visit when she returned to the farm. From the beginning, they were pie people, and this restaurant made astonishing pie.
“Grandma was Pennsylvania Dutch,” Standby Platitude reminisced. “Pie for breakfast is normal.”
“And, delicious,” Sad Heart agreed.
For the last decade, she’d made the holiday pies. Mincemeat for her mother, who loved the dense, dark, and fruity pie above all others. Brad was a cherry man, and she’d made apple-cranberry pies for her father years before, which were her favorite. Apple-cranberry appealed to them because the cranberries propped up the apples and made it interesting. Pies, in their family, were serious business.
Pie is about balance. Unlike cake, a no-holds-barred monument to refined sugar, pie is about taking something natural that is inconsistent and finding the way to make a meld of sweet and savory that lets the mouth sing. Pie is a simple-looking complexity. Pie is life.
Easing into the upcoming holiday whirlwind, take time to make a pie just for you. Taste the fruit, dribble in just enough sugar to make it sing, slap a crust on top (and no, the edges don’t have to be pretty), paint some egg yolk on it and bake away. Then savor every bite, fall harvest’s gift to us all.
Pie is life.