Thursday, December 8, 2016

A History of Pie

This post had every intention to be a simple pie recipe (it was also ideally going to be posted in November, ah...such is life). While my intentions were good and certainly justified (I mean, let's be honest who doesn't love a pie post?) I realized that a holiday as special and as dear to my heart as thanksgiving deserves something more.

My earliest recollection of this holiday was at my grandparent's farm. It wasn't your typical farm with cows and pigs and a big red barn - it was more a gathering place nestled in the woods with plenty of hiking trails, porch swings, and hammocks.The family would travel from all over Florida and we would have our feast out on the big screened-in back porch. We would spend our afternoons wrapped up in a game of horseshoes, swinging on the rope swing hanging from the old oak tree, and playing with the dogs (there were always several).

As the years went on, grandma and pop-pop got older, the farm was sold, and my parents along with aunts and uncles took over the role of thanksgiving host. I was fortunate enough for all of my relatives to be within a reasonable distance of one another so we would take turns having it in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Atlanta. No matter the location, there were always certain steadfast traditions that included: gathering around a fireplace and/or fire pit, the playing of games and the drinking of wine, and a table completely dedicated to pies.

If there's one thing you need to know about my family, it's that we take the art of pie-making (and pie eating) VERY seriously. When you grow up eating grandma Fran's pies, you are both blessed and cursed. Blessed because you have never tasted anything so delicious, and cursed because no pie you eat henceforth will ever compare - thus, turning you into a pie snob forever. I remember being mesmerized by my grandmother, she had a way of moving in the kitchen, almost like a slow dance - rhythmic and fluid. She would carefully place the crumble on her signature dutch apple pie and pinch the dough ever so carefully around the edges.

I didn't realize it until recently, but I think it was these particular memories that sparked my passion for food and instilled my deep love of creating in the kitchen. My grandmother was probably the most humble person I will ever know - she never had a career, she never won any awards or accomplished anything exemplary by society's standards, but she was exceptionally great at preparing food for those she loved. I believe it takes a special type of person who takes pleasure in the act of serving others, it's not something I think most people strive to do. Where I am in life right now, I find myself appreciating and even treasuring those "labors of love." In this world full of foie gras and caviar I still would choose a good old slice of homemade apple pie.

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