Bring Back Pies

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With my brain being the strange thing that it is, the recent death of Soupy Sales started me thinking about pie. Not pie-in-the-face, but real good old-fashioned cut yourself a slice and shove it down your gullet pie. It seems in recent years pie has become the step-child of dessert, the forgotten pastry. Pick up the cooking and baking magazines and you’ll find them chock full of cakes, all kinds of cakes. Layer cakes, icebox cakes, ice cream cakes, coffee cakes, cheese cakes of every size and flavor fill these magazines but nary a mention of pies. Why not?
Cake gets all the attention, all the press. Cake is the sexy, glamorous desert while pie is the blue collar poor relative. After cake you might think that pie would at least come in a close second, but that is simply not the case. Cupcakes have become the “in” thing of late. There are entire shops that specialize in ultimate, designer cupcakes for about $5.00 or $6.00 each. Cinnamon rolls are another huge deal. Before those, muffins were the big deal, remember? And before muffins there were fancy cookie shops in every mall. All these pastries had their 15 minutes of fame, so what happened to pie?
Poor, poor pie. If you think about it you’ll cry. Having a birthday? Well then you need a birthday cake, right? But why not a birthday pie? Oh no, nobody wants a birthday pie. Getting married? Of course you’ll order a wedding cake. Suggest a wedding pie and you’ll get laughed out of the caterers office and maybe thrown out of the wedding party altogether.
How come there is coffee cake but no coffee pie? There are seven layer cakes, but I defy you to show me a seven layer pie. If you can make a strawberry short cake, why not a strawberry short pie? It sounds good to me. And you’ve certainly heard of an upside-down cake, but there has never been an upside-down pie – at least not on purpose.
In fairness, the pie does have its moments in the spotlight. Pie becomes the star for at least one day out of the year, for what would Thanksgiving dinner be without apple, mince, and good ol’ pumpkin pie? And chicken pot pie makes a wonderful entrée, somehow chicken pot cake just doesn’t sound as appetizing. Pie even has its own national slogan, “As American as apple pie” fits much better than does “as American as bunt cake.” But by and large, that’s about it for pie.
There was a time when it used to be traditional to have cherry pie on George Washington’s birthday, but since Washington’s birthday is no longer a holiday (stupid “President’s Day” has taken its place) there is no longer any reason to buy cherry pie. Pies were big a million years ago when moms still baked things. Watch an old movie or animated cartoon and you’ll very often see mother making a pie and putting it on the window sill to cool (usually followed by Mickey Rooney stealing it and eating it all behind the garage).
In the good old days silent comedians, not to mention Soupy Sales a few decades later, threw pies. They never threw cakes. Pies are lighthearted and funny. Cakes are just too damn serious. Pies are approachable, cakes are pretentious and distant. You know what pie needs? A really good PR firm.
But what does the world have against pies anyway? What has pie done to deserve being snubbed? Personally, I happen to like pie, all kinds of pie. Cherry pies and apple pies are my favorites, but I wouldn’t say no to lemon meringue pie, strawberry pie, coconut cream, chocolate, blueberry or good old pumpkin pie with whipped cream. We need to bring back the pie. As a matter of fact, that’s my bumper sticker, “BRING BACK THE PIE.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I like cake too. And cookies are fine every now and then but nothing is quite like a big slice of homemade hot apple pie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (or try a hunk of sharp cheddar cheese). GIVE ME PIE NOW. That’s another bumper sticker.
So this holiday season; give the gift that keeps on giving. Give pie. Buy one for all your relatives. Buy a pie for your true love. Don’t get dad another necktie, get him something that he’ll really appreciate, get him a pie. And when was the last time poor old mom had her very own pie? Give it to her. Little sister wants pie, big brother wants pie; all God’s children want pie. Forget that putrid fruit cake, give pie.
And don’t forget folks, pie is the one gift they’ll never return.

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Crosby’s Corner

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