Kimmy Sophia Brown

Pie Crazy

Aug 10, 2003
Last November my friend told me about the joy of Pillsbury Pie Crusts - created for the person who wants to bake a pie but whose pie crusts turn out like roofing shingles. I baked my first pumpkin pie and apple pie this fall and since then I've gone pie crazy. I've baked them for gifts for friends and neighbors, I baked them for our 30 guest Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and I started making them for our family.

Home schooling makes baking fun too, because we can have cooking class, and my kids can do the measuring and beating and scooping dough onto cookie sheets. The only bad thing about making cookies or pies for the pie holes* of friends and neighbors is that half of what we bake finds their way into our pie holes at home, which in turn has us busting out of our britches. (*as in the polite British expression, "shut your pie hole" -- or in some cases, your "cake hole")

Pie baking and giving is a time honored tradition. When we moved into a house in Richmond, Virginia, the lady next door brought us a peach pie. When we moved into this house in rural Virginia, two different ladies sent us pies; a coconut and a pecan. I sent a pumpkin pie across the street to another lady. A tin of brownies appeared on our back porch. I sent over some chocolate chip cookies. Then five pies showed up for Thanksgiving; sweet potato, pumpkin, pecan, apple and mincemeat. The refrigerator was jammed with pies.

In the midst of all this sweetness it's no wonder that diabetes is becoming an American pastime. Whenever I read the eating plans from celebrated health gurus, they describe the alluring attributes of green leafy vegetables, asparagus and kelp. Ahh, makes me think of mom and home. Asparagus pie with a scoop of kelp on top and a hot cup of watery, chamomile tea.

How can we take the Betty Crocker image of the homey kitchen, the floury table and sugary goodies, and reveal the lurking monsters behind the facade? Blubber, blood sugar havoc, diabetes, hypoglycemia, digestive problems, candida fungal infections and heart disease? Should we create a new image of Americana home and hearth? -- where steamy windows come from naked, steamed vegetables -- and instead of piping hot coffee we have gloomy glasses of distilled water, and small, sensible portions of hot, plucked chicken?

Somebody has to do a major sales job and convince our subconscious psyches that the images of comfort we hold dear in our minds are actually our undoing -- they represent the ruin of our muscle tone, the phenomena of brain fog, mood swings and a new middle aged me, replacing the me that used to be young, energetic and mentally sharp. Good grief, I used to be able to work at Howard Johnson's Restaurant and juggle 48 different orders and requests from the customers between table and kitchen. I had plates stacked up my arms, straws in my pockets, pens behind my ears. It was $1.99 Clam Night and tartar sauce was my middle name. Those were the days.

Anyway, back to pies. Cook books are glutted with recipes made from splenda, sucanat, aspartame, saccharine, egg whites, cooking spray and other food substitutes.

Of course all those non-food substances introduce free radicals into the body with a host of other indigestible junk that orbits our bloodstream like lost satellites instead of finding their way out various escape hatches -- and this stuff causes growths, DNA mutations and unwanted body augmentations.

So the quest to stop the onslaught of white sugar, white flour and chocolate becomes a journey into chemical foods that leads us back to the conclusion that the original bad stuff is better than the new bad stuff. And it's all bad. So how did we ever get the idea that it was good?

The only real problem with the whole thing is that a plate of steamed asparagus will never fool anyone into thinking it is really a french silk pie. A bowl of carrot sticks can never pretend to be hershey kisses. A cup of chamomile tea will never be cappucino.

So what I want to know is, when God created the earth did He predestine coffee and pie? Like in the same way Ben Franklin harnessed electricity, Isaac Newton figured out gravity, and George Washington Carver invented the first computer with a peanut*? (*see the movie, "Under Cover Brother")

I mean, was the first pie recipe hovering there above the surface of the earth waiting to be discovered when the first woman wearing an apron stood in front of a hot stove? Maybe we'll never know.

Kim lives in Maine, which is lovely, and where she continues her enthusiastic relationship with Art, Music, Nature, Books, Animals, Humor and Trees.