For owner-member Julie Meiser, pie is the way to go anytime of day! She shared with us a little essay depicting her love of pie.
By Julie Meiser
I do. I really do love pie. Any day of the week, practically any time of day, I could go for a warm, gooey slice of pecan pie, a la mode. I know I’m not alone in this general sentiment either; whether you are a savory taker or sweet, a fondness for tender, flaky layers of butter and flour wrapped around some jewel of a filling is, some might say, universal. Considering the sheer proximity and rich bounty of our local farms, orchards, and berry patches here in central PA, one can’t help but fall for one pie or another. Sour cherry or shoofly, chicken or mince, there truly is no better place to grow, make, share, eat, and love pie.
Certain foods connote certain occasions, and for a community with such great agricultural heritage as ours, nothing says holiday, family, and friends, like pie. But even more than that, this simple (yet elusive in its perfection) dish is a symbol of giving. Pie’s ancient beginnings as a means to preserve a meal for sailors, soldiers, and miners, tells the story of food being made by someone back home, for someone far away—working, fighting, suffering. It is the original comfort food, and is not made (easily) on the road or over a fire. It requires a hearth, an oven, and thoughtful, caring hands.
There’s something to be said about a food, often with a fairly short list of ingredients, that our world of grocery-shelf short cuts can’t come close to in quality—and even I will admit that some boxed brownies aren’t half bad. And while there are a few tricks and techniques that can improve the end result, pie making is for everyone. I remember watching, and assisting when called upon, my Nana make a peach pie when I was about 7 years old. There weren’t any fancy gadgets or special tools, and in fact, she didn’t even use a cutting board for the fruit; a paring knife in one hand and a peach in the other, the juice just dripped into a bowl she’d then pour over the top before baking. There wasn’t anything fussy about her crust either, which I recall needed some patching up once it got to the dish. However simple her method, her peach pie was perfectly luscious. She always joked that her secret was using the ugliest, most bruised peaches she could find! I tend to think it was the odd-shaped cuts of fruit that came from her unconventional style of knife work, each one a perfect bite.
As someone who has made food for a living, desserts in particular, I can honestly say there is no more satisfying (or therapeutic!) act than rolling out pie dough, and there is no more delightful gift than a pie for someone dear. I count myself extremely fortunate to be part of a community that values our farms and farmers, and treasure the fact that everything I need to make a pie can be sourced locally. That’s awesome. It also means more pie, which I love, and want you to love, too. So go make some, share some, eat some pie!