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Monday, March 15, 2010

Pie Day and Harold's purple crayon.

Yesterday was Pie Day.  You know, 3-14...a day all geeks eat pie in honor of pi.  We had pie at church during coffee hour after the service.  Three kinds of pie--apple, blueberry, and key lime--not the nine kinds that Harold liked best.  I had a slice of the key lime.  It was green, and spring-ish, and as close as I was likely to get to the green beer I wouldn't be drinking, and have never drunk, for St. Patrick's Day.  I doubt St. Patrick ever drank green beer--at least not deliberately--or ate key lime pie, but one never knows.  I think the ancients were often more modern than we realize.
Back to Harold and his pies.
Harold and the Purple Crayon was a favorite childhood book of mine.  But I always wondered what were his favorite nine kinds of pie.  The book leaves that open, likely to spur the imagination of those who would then ponder the dilemma of deciding the best nine kinds of pie in the world.  Over the years I have made several lists.  In any given year, on any given day my list of nine might vary.  But it will always begin with Pumpkin Pie.  Nature's Perfect Pie. The other eight, well, they can come and go, but pumpkin reigns supreme.  Pumpkin is an all-American pie, pumpkins being native to the Americas like blueberries, so I will add blueberry pie to my list of nine.  Then apple.  A good apple pie is a thing of beauty, warm with vanilla ice cream.  Fruit pies are always best warm with ice cream.  I must add rhubarb to my list, straight up, not diluted with strawberries.  I love strawberries, but firmly believe they have no place in a baked pie. Shoo-fly and Chess pie will make my list, delightful intensely rich gooey pies.  For those unfamiliar with these delicacies shoo-fly is a molasses laden Amish/Mennonite staple from southeastern PA.  The origins of the lighter but, in my opinion richer, chess pie, as well as its name, are much debated. Find a piece made by a real Southern hand for a truly exquisite experience.  I think I must add peach pie to the list--warm with vanilla ice cream, of course.  Okay--two pies left.  Which two?  Chocolate, lemon, key-lime, raspberry, some new-fangled Willy Wonka pie?  I think for my last two pies I will go savory and have chicken pie (no peas!) and a good French meat pie.  The book never said all of Harold's pies were sweet.

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