A friend of mine (who is now reading this with more interest than when she first started) suggested that today I should try a new kind of pie. Being someone who loves pie, the thought intrigued me. But of course there are a lot of things to consider before one does this. It’s a very complicated process; and as you all know, I am one who makes even the simplest of tasks complicated. So, doing this would be liked complicated squared (math geek again).
Step One: Research
Before someone tries anything new, it is essential that they know that they have already tried, therefore avoiding the costly and time-consuming mistake of doing it over. This takes thought and research. So, in order to find out what new pie I could eat, I would have to recall the ones I have already tried. Hello Google!
The Universe Speaks
My first encounter with the powerful search engine yielded immediate and eye-opening results. I found out that we have holidays to celebrate this. Now depending upon your adeptness at spelling, you can either celebrate National Pie Day on January 23rd, or National Pi Day on March 14th. I choose to do both because I am flexible. In 10 years, when I can no longer touch my toes, I will probably be more picky.
Now that I had spent countless minutes doing research, I no longer had time to bake a new pie. This is the price one pays when they are thorough. Sometimes I take all day to select the correct socks to wear, taking into account climatic conditions and scheduled events to be undertaken. In fact, I often miss those events because I have spent too much time on hosiery selection. (Aren’t you glad you’re not me?)
A Peace Offering
To appease the masses, who are no doubt now clamoring for an essay on my pie adventure, I have decide to offer a gesture of peaceful compromise, saving my pie excursion for another day when I can figure out how to dress. In its place I now offer this:
MY TOP 10 FAVORITE PIES (a precursor to an adventure)
(DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are solely my own and have no bearing on statistical accuracy or reality as I know it to be.)
Just look at it over there – all sugary sweet and lusciously decadent. A well-made raspberry pie can be quite a sugar overload, and it glides over the tongue and delights the palette. That is until you get one of those seeds stuck between your teeth. I am told this is even worse if you wear dentures. I will let you know in 20 years.
9. Scooter or Moon Pie
These two treats are essentially the same thing: marshmallow, covered by graham crackers, covered by chocolate. They have roughly the same taste as a s’more but are less messy. For years, I had one in my lunch every day at school. The one drawback was their appearance, as the other kids thought I was eating a hockey puck, thereby ostracizing me to the table reserved for rubber-chewers.
8. Blueberry Pie
The pie with the greatest potential for staining, the blueberry pie is one of my favorites. It also happens to be a major plot point in Jackie Gleason’s favorite episode of “The Honeymooners.” Arterial monochromia anyone? Have fun – look it up and find out what I am talking about.
7. Lemon Meringue
Not to be confused with the Latin dance, this sweet and tart treat can be heavenly when prepared by a master pie maker, but a disaster in the wrong hands. Improperly prepared meringue can turn out to have the same consistency as taffy, with the same ability to rip out one’s filling when eaten. How do I know? Let’s just say that I can chalk this up to personal experience, and we can leave it at that. All I can say is that I am still alive – and that’s always a plus.
6. Pie Traynor
Harold Joseph “Pie” Traynor played third base for the Pittsburgh Pirates for his entire career (1920-37). In 1948, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was voted as the greatest third baseman of his era. A slick-fielding infielder, Traynor was also adept with the bat, becoming the first third baseman to drive in 100 or more runs in 5 consecutive seasons. He retired with a career .320 batting average. And – even more importantly for this blog entry – he received his nickname because he loved to eat pie. What could be better than that?
5. Chocolate Cream
I don’t care what anyone says; if your mouth doesn’t water when you see that picture to the right, then you just aren’t human. That is a picture of chocolate cream pie, and I like this pie so much that I have often asked for it in place of my birthday cake. The drawback to having chocolate cream pie is that you have to make a lot to feed a lot of people. On the plus side, it doesn’t keep very long; and you have to eat it up very quickly Seconds or thirds, anyone?
4. Apple Pie a la Mode
I first tasted the exquisite dessert at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City and have been in love ever since. This blend of “America’s favorite fruit” with sugar and savory spices is best served warm so that a large scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream placed atop can slightly melt, adding a creamy river of sweetness.
Is anybody getting hungry?
3. Pizza Pie
If we switch gears a bit to allow more flexibility, we can give our sweet tooth a rest, saving us a trip to the dentist, while still talking about food – and causing my stomach to growl.
There is no doubt about it, American loves pizza (and this includes me). Pizza migrated to America with the Italians. After World War II many returning soldiers who were stationed in Italy created a high demand for the pizza they encountered and tasted in Italy. Pizza in this day and age has no limitations. It can be deep-dish pizza, stuffed pizza, pizza pockets, pizza turnovers, rolled pizza, pizza-on-a-stick, pizza jelly beans, pizza-flavored chips and pizza toothpaste (okay, I am making some of this up – a guy can dream can’t he). Please excuse me while I order one. Now I need to finish this blog in 30 minutes or less. I better hustle.
GEEK ALERT: The number π is a equivalent to the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi.” Fractions such as 22/7 and other rational numbers are commonly used to approximate pi.
The reason that this is important is because we need to figure out how many slices in which to cut our pizza. Thus, the name. Mathematicians and pizza parlors have been using this number to calculate dough-to-cheese ratio and also to figure out how much money to charge for an individual slice. The whole system, however, was sent into a frenzy when Giovanni Balazzo shocked the pizza world when he invented the rectangular pie. Finally, the Pythagorean trigonometric identity was employed to settle things down and stabilize the industry.
And the Number 1 pie of all-time is….
1. The Comedy Pie
Though there is no consensus as to what this pie is made of; such ingredients as: whipped cream shaving cream, corn starch, flour, and paste have been listed as favorites in creating a whipped, gooey concoction that adheres to the face long enough to allow for a camera to photograph the recipient as they gently dig eyes holes for added comedic fun.
Recognized as best of the pie throwing/receiving comedians are “Soupy Sales (television comedian, above left) and The Three Stooges (vaudeville, movies and theatrical shorts, above right).
If you wish to know what makes a good pie comic, it all has to do with timing and “selling” the pie toss. Novices will inevitably “flinch” in anticipation of receiving a pie to the face which they knew was coming. Experts will not only not flinch, they will be able to lean into the trajectory, pause for the reaction, and then let the pie linger for a secondary laugh. (Trust me, I have given a lot of thought to this.) If you want to see an especially good movie pie fight, I would suggest the one at the climax of the movie “The Great Race” starring Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis. It’s a classic.
Well, there you have it. I am sure you may disagree with some of my selections, but I don’t have time to argue right now. The pizza just arrived.