Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pie in the Sky

The above picture (which is also below, forgive me for repeating myself) is in the way of a credential. I am a true lover of pie. Evidence: my wedding cake was a pie. That's a French silk chocolate pie my mom made, her specialty and my favorite growing up. I also liked pumpkin, a standard at Christmas, and the fall apple pie, and the summer blueberry and blackberry pies. I had to grow up to learn to like mincemeat, and I still have yet to cotton onto lemon meringue, my dad's mother's favorite. But I have been a pie eater all my life.

So you would think I would like American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America's Back Roads.

Instead it pissed me off.

Maybe I'm just cranky, what with the end of the semester and the lack of sleep and all. But this book, which I haven't even finished yet, is just so deeply annoying. The basic thesis seems to be that life used to be slower, it's changed, pie is a metaphor for some sort of idealized American past in which people had time for pie, the pie bakers are dying, and ain't it sad? The woman writing the book asks people for recommendations of great pie bakers, and then essentially shows up at their work or homes without calling first and hovers around, hoping to be asked to dinner. She likes to frame this as a sort of spontaneity born of a spiritual quest, but it basically seems pretty rude and inconsiderate. Would the pie-hunt be less vision-quest-ish if she used a damned telephone? Also, I know plenty of people my own age (37, hardly the "white-haired grandmothers with flour on their aprons" she is so fond of conjuring) make pie. My friends with kids make pies with the apples from their apple-picking; my friends with gardens use up the rhubarb; my baker friends make whatever's in season. Pie is delicious, pie is unpretentious, pie is home-y, but pie is NOT quaint. Damnit.

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