The Charms and Delights of Pie
by C. K. Thomas
“Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?”
I can remember picking cherries from a big ol’ fruit tree in my aunt’s backyard in Galveston, Indiana. With cherry picking complete, my mother, my aunt Imogene, and I would sit on the back steps and pit enough cherries for a pie.
Years later, when my mother died, I inherited her recipe box. It is a large index file box that holds 4” x 6” cards. I entered all 112 of her recipes into my Master Cook software program, but I still prefer using the index cards. I love seeing my mother’s perfect cursive letters spelled out into directions for the ever-so-memorable dishes she lovingly served our family.
Cursive, during my mother’s school days, secured a place in the curriculum taught in a class called handwriting. Her flawless script certainly can’t be duplicated by the likes of me, but I will never cease to admire the poetry of her handwriting. Besides the beauty of each card, the results always produce mouth-watering fare.
Evidently, my mother loved to bake pies, because among those 112 recipes are almost 50 for pie. Consider the following: Apple, Banana Cream, Banana Custard, Buttermilk, Cherry, Chess, Chocolate, Coconut Cream, Cream, Custard, Dutch Apple, French Apple, French Silk, and many, many more. It makes my mouth water just thinking about a healthy slice of any one of her pies, with a scoop of ice cream melting atop a still-warm crust.
I proudly carried the first pie I ever made to our family Thanksgiving Dinner. It turned out that I had failed to roll out the pie dough to a reasonable thinness. The filling got raves, but the crust remained empty and forlorn on many plates around the table that year.
As great a cook as my mother always proved to be, she somehow failed to teach her daughter. Over the years, raising three kids and pleasing a hungry husband, I honed my cooking and pie-baking skills. After all, like writing, pie-baking requires a certain skill set and a creative mind. It’s very satisfying to take a freshly baked cherry pie with a lattice-work crust out of the oven. This particular pie is a work of art and my husband’s favorite. For his birthday, he requests cherry pie – definitely NOT cake.
I remember a “classic” song about pie from the movie Michael that I know my mother would appreciate if she were still here with us. Here are the lyrics, just for you. Let’s bake!
The “Pie Song,” sung in the movie Michael by Andie Macdowell
Me oh my
Nothing tastes sweet, wet, salty, and dry
all at once
Oh well, it’s pie
an’ wet bottom.
Come to your place every day if you’ve got em’
Me oh my
I love pie
Click HERE to hear Andie sing it.
C.K. Thomas lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Before retiring, she worked for Phoenix Newspapers while raising three children and later as communications editor for a large United Methodist Church. The Storm Women is her fourth novel and the third in the Arrowstar series about adventurous women of the desert Southwest. Follow her blog: We-Tired and Writing Blog.