Today I had pie for breakfast – with a diet cola chaser.
I can almost hear the choruses of “Ewwww” and “OMG,” but in my defense, it’s not like I do this every morning. Plus, I doubt my breakfast-du-jour is much different from the coffee and donut others enjoy regularly to jumpstart their day.
Besides, this was really good pie – made from scratch with no artificial anything. It was (emphasis on “was”) quite wholesome with a mixture of fresh blueberries and apples with a rolling-pin-needed crust. I’d say it was just like Mom used to make, but she used lard in the crust. Even I wasn’t about to go there.
As I pondered my “bluepple” or my “appleberry” pie, I realized that it did have some nutritional value. Think about it; with the blueberries and apple slices, I had a serving of fruit. The crust was a carb for energy and the whipped cream on top was a serving of dairy. Yes, that 1/8 of a pie was riddled with sugar and fat to the tune of 360 calories, some 43 percent in fat and 53 percent in carbohydrates. But it was so worth it.
I have always considered baking pies great fun. I think part of it is handling the dough, reminiscent of kids’ Play Doh, but actually edible. It’s a nice feeling squishing through the hands and then rolling it thin with my trusty rolling pin. Just when I think my roller is adequately floured, it begins to grab chunks from my pie crust. At that point, my efforts begin to resemble a street full of potholes, and I set about patching the holes.
I must confess that my crust didn’t even come close to the photos in all my cookbooks or what I see on food TV. Those pretty lattice designs or the fancy cutouts are “not in my wheelhouse,” as the saying goes. Still, as I studied my patch job, I reasoned that it would surely taste great no matter how it looked. Moreover, isn’t this what the cooking pros call “rustic” anyway?
One of the best things about baking a pie is the smell that permeates the air. Seriously, that pie had only been in the oven maybe five minutes when the fruity cinnamon aroma filled the house. In minutes, I recalled Mom baking her blueberry pie; her crusts were the pretty kind – suitable for framing.
We kids especially craved Mom’s cinnamon crisp, a treat she’d create from leftover pie dough. She’d roll it thin, top it with cinnamon and sugar, and bake until flaky. How we loved breaking off the pieces for a snack while the pie cooled. I’m guessing that the leftover dough wasn’t an accident, though. I’ll bet it was Mom’s strategy all along to have extra dough for our cinnamon crisp so we wouldn’t ask over and over, “When will the pie be ready?”
More than anything, I suppose making a pie was a comfort food project. Some days simply call for a pie and never mind the calories. I like what Woody Allen said, “When we lose 20 pounds, we may be losing the 20 best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love, and our honesty.”
Oh, and the diet cola? That’s another story.