Dining A La King: PiesGiving math meant 25 pies for 37 people
Posted: 12/24/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marshall V. King
Dining A La King
Dining A La King
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Jennifer Glick cuts a pie during the all-pie event in her Goshen home. (Photo by Marshall V. King)
Scott Barge and Nessa Stoltzfus hold their pie at Piesgiving. Barge was part of a concert that night that required formal wear. (Photo by Craig Glick Miller)
The symbol for pi was cut into the top of Marshall Kingís timbale for Piesgiving. (Photo by Marshall V. King)
Craig and Kathy Glick Miller hold their son, Spencer, as well as a tart baked for Piesgiving. (Photo by Craig Glick Miller)
Seven kinds of pie on a plate. Just a taste of each, right? (Photo by Marshall V. King)
There were a lot of pies to cut at Piesgiving 2012. (Photo by Marshall V. King)
I'd been talking about an all-pie meal for years.
And a year ago, when an article appeared on the Serious Eats food blog, a friend and I both read it and wanted a local version. It took a year, but in November, Kathy Glick Miller asked when we were going to do it.
We could have done it March 14. That's the day that some set aside to celebrate pie the food and pi the mathematical element.
But we picked Dec. 2 because that was a night that worked. And that became PiesGiving.
It could have been called Piemas too.
We invited friends and people we knew who loved pie. We told everyone that the only thing you had to get in the door of Steve and Jennifer Glick's house was to be holding a pie that your household had made.
There weren't many questions about what constituted pie. One person asked if he had to make his own crust or whether he could buy one. I encouraged making one and then buying if it flopped.
Kathy made a lovely butternut squash and caramelized onion tart. I was helping by pulling it out of the oven before the guest arrived and it ended up falling onto an oven rack and getting a bit mangled. I felt horrible. Kathy laughed. And it was one of the best pies and most popular pies of the night.
People walked in, took off their shoes and posed for a photo with their pie. We said a prayer, thanking God for pie to help us through the winter, and we started eating.
Technically, there were 24 pies. Jim Neff, in addition to a pie, brought a pie plate of pulled pork he'd smoked. That was the 25th pie.
Eight of them were savory. In addition to Kathy's squash/onion tart, I made a timbale. It included pasta, meat ragu and fresh mozzarella inside a crust that had equal parts flour and butter. The pie weighed nearly seven pounds. And I carved the symbol for pi on the top as ventilation slits for while it baked.
Michael Miller, an excellent pie baker, made a meat pie.
Jennifer Glick made Jamaican meat pies as one of her contributions. They were flaky with nice spice.
Of the sweet pies, three were shoofly, a molasses pie that is more common in Pennsylvania than Indiana, but plays nicely anywhere.
Elizabeth Yoder, the best pie baker I know, made a pear pie that was perfectly sweet, creamy and fruity. It was lovely.
Her grandson, Ryan Miller, brought a pie with bacon on top. I love pie and I love bacon, but it was weird.
Dustin George-Miller, Ryan's brother, brought a deep fudge pie that he fretted over, but it was rich and dense. And it was well-made.
One of the lessons of the night is that lemon meringue pie doesn't work well served warm. A baker who shall remain nameless brought one that was fresh from the oven — and was still pretty runny.
We ate pie.
And we went home full — both in our stomachs and in our hearts.
Pie is an amazing food. The combination of crust and filling somehow creates something larger than itself. The combination is classic and one that should be explored as often and deeply as possible.
Pie makes me think of the late Trennis Yoder, Elizabeth's husband, who loved pie and said his favorite was the kind he was eating.
Pie makes me think of my grandmother, Amelia Schrock, who made bobandy pie. And now my mother, Esther King, makes it too. I need to learn how to master it.
PiesGiving wasn't a fundraiser. It was a meal with a premise and therefore, a celebration.
And by the end of the evening, participants in our first PiesGiving were talking about when the next pie event may happen. March 14, perhaps? Or International Talk Like a Pirate Day?
When it happens, I want to be there. Because I love pie.
I'm hungry. Let's eat.
Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/eTruth.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-296-5805, on Twitter