This I Believe

Michelle - Regent, North Dakota
Entered on April 19, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family

On counter stools in diners across America, white china mugs of coffee are set before weary travelers, and when the waitress asks “You need pie with that?”, I implore you, take it as an order—“YOU need pie with that.” Think of a stitched sampler imparting wisdom—“you need pie with that.”

This I believe: Pie is the ultimate American treat.

I learned to make pie in my first household, full of college friends, finding our first jobs, finding ourselves. Pie was a symbol of all the family dinners of our childhood holidays. It reconnected us to our roots, and making and eating a pie together raised our lonely spirits.

A pie is never wasted; there is never pie that gets stale. Cookies may crumble, cakes may harden, and frostings may ooze, but pie never gets old enough to lose its essential goodness.

I sing the glories of pie, American pie, and value represented in a dessert. Bring on the pie. Imagine that first triangular bite off the larger triangle’s point, changing the triangle into a trapezoid. And the turn, when the outer crust becomes part of the bite, the sideways cuts, so that filling and crust are together for the last heavenly bites.

Pie is American. Chinese exchange students that I met were excited to taste homemade pie for the first time. “OOOH, Very American! “they exclaimed, putting a piece of pie in the middle of a plate of salsa, coleslaw and hot dish. They took the entire leftover pie home, after verifying it was ok to eat pie anytime. Of course! Eating anytime is VERY American!

Scientists conduct clinical studies on what is nutritionally wrong for us. I propose a study that works out the comfort, joy, and delight factor of pie. I am certain that findings would show that pie has a resounding effect of some chakra, quark, or energy meridian that overwhelms any minor detrimental statistical factors that measure cholesterol, blood pressure, or obesity.

As young mothers my friend Sandy and I made pies for our husbands; one of the few things we could summon energy for as we chased small children. Our husbands, Cheshire grins on their faces would savor the goodness, and then start on what they called “the Litany of Pie,” a reverent listing of their favorite flavors….

“Banana cream” they would intone.

“Pear pie…..”

“Have mercy on us”, Sandy and I would chime in between flavors. “Have mercy on us!” And another generation of pie lovers was created in the laughter.

Challenge me! Go ahead. I am a candidate for pie queen of the universe. I make my crusts 25 at a time. I have made pie from every standard fruit, and from grapes, plums, pears, mangos and kiwis. I have invented new combinations of filling, savory to sweet. From the Great Plains, I send out the words….Homemade pie……an interlude in modern life, a healer of all ills for the duration of the eating, a connection to America. Pie, glorious pie.