Friday, June 08, 2007

More PIE please

My new PIE cookbook, which I've posted about, still has not left my living room, where it resides as deliciously fascinating reading material. This has got to be the summer of pie... not only did I get to have Heather's key lime (with the best crumb crust I've ever had), but I bought that cookbook, read a history book on the American kitchen, and just saw a pie oriented movie.

I've been reading
Something from the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America. If you grocery shop, if you have ever eaten home cooking, been a home cook, hate to cook, regularly visit a grocery store, or ever watched Julia Child on television, you'll want to read bits of this book out loud to everyone around you. Okay, I wanted to, maybe you're more polite than that. For example, lima bean sticks. Gross yes, but intriguing right? The author's style is amazingly readable and conversational, taking you directly into America's kitchens - often on the back of the food marketing industry or cooking personalities. You get a sense of the women themselves in their earnest and direct letters to magazines and newspapers. It will change the way you see food marketing (for a whole week, I felt like the products in the grocery store needed to just pipe down). It may give you hope in this nation of fast food. It will cause you to fondly recall the remnants of a 50's kitchen as they existed (or exist) in your own life. I was heartened to read that cakes and pies at the time fell under the realm of personal touch, not appropriate for box mix conversion. I am not a cake baker, but the thump of a rolling pin on a wooden board soothes my soul, and a pie never fails to impress (even if you bought the crust!).

No sooner did I finish this book, than a coworker recommended the movie Waitress. It is not a cute little movie - it's a damn good story instead, with just the right sweet and tart sentiments. The pies are wild, the characters are sometimes wilder, and none of it is predictable in the usual sugary way of romances. The women are strong and independent, life is unfair, and being a baking whiz in the kitchen does not mean you are the mother of all mankind. Just a great movie - two days later, I'm still playing it over in my head.

While we were at the movie, Alex call and left a message that was along the lines of "come and get the rhubarb from my garden right now!". And rhubarb really only has two uses - mixed w/ sweeter fruit for a pie, or blended into sauce to pour over vanilla ice cream.

Mmm, summer of pie...

12 comments:

Heather said...

Oh! I just finished that book too! If you liked that, you should read Finding Betty Crocker. I think that's the title.

Rhubard and raspberry is one of my favorites.

Heather said...

Laura Shapiro also has another book called Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of The Century. I haven't read it, but I'm looking. Would you want to borrow the Betty Crocker book?

Alex said...

Kate and Her Better Half have already had to sit through my Rhubarb Rant- but just for the Record.

Rhubarb is Devil Spawn, a weed from the depths of Perdition and it CERTAINLY has no place in something as Devine as PIE!

Using Rhubarb in a pie is something that only tight fisted, tight lipped, grimed faced, female burning puritanical YANKEES could even think up….here you have something wonderful, sweet, and delicious like Apple Pie or Strawberry Pie, and some killjoy who is just terrified that, GOD FORBID, we might actually enjoy desert has to go and water it down with something bitter and awful like Rhubarb.

I simply shudder at the thought of the type of mind that could come up with something so pernicious.

Kate said...

thank goodness the world does not revolve around alex's food tastes. there isn't enough sliced and ground bovine in the world to make that possible anyway.

because i know you won't do it, and because i know you'll see it as some crazy liberal plot, i'm going to say that i think you should diversify alex. gas will soon be so expensive that you won't be able to afford to eat unless it grows in your backyard. and guess what grows in your backyard? yes, skunks and compost but something else...

Kate said...

h- i'd be up for reading the betty crocker book! i'll read almost anything foodie. it's how i got suckered into a few "food memoirs" by famous food authors/editors. sadly, they were really about how unhappy they were with their husbands (whom they left). it was a 60's thing - two different ideas of marriage does not a lasting marriage make. i wasn't looking for marital disaster and identity crisis, so i've learned caution and often stick with travel and anthro type foodie writing. your book sounds like it'd fit the bill!

Alex said...

If you like it...YOU EAT IT!

Alex said...

From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie

"A pie is a baked food, with a baked shell usually made of pastry that covers or completely contains a filling of fruit, meat, fish, vegetables, cheeses, creams, chocolate, custards, nuts, or other sweet or savoury ingredients."

Since Rhubarb is neither "sweet" nor "savoury", any pastry made WITH it does not, as a matter of course, qualify for the designation: pie.

The word for such a concoction is: "mistake"

(Damn Liberals)

Heather said...

Kate, you should go take a look at www.retro-food.com. It has some strange but alluring recipes that might just be worth trying.

Kate said...

alex, savoury (or savory) is another word for "piquant", which i would say rhubarb is. and so, applies to your pie definition. now stop bugging me and go pack for the trip to the cape this weekend.

Kate said...

h- i found a state and county fair pie recipe book, and i'm going to try the avacado pie. maybe a cornmeal shortbread crust. it's a sweet pie, so a sweet fruit "salsa" or a sweet sour cream topping might go well. that site looks very intriguing, i'll certainly use it as inspiration/ reference - thanks!

Alex said...

phhhhfffffffffttttttphhhhhhh

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