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...