An ode to pastry.
1976: Mars Hill, Maine
Mince Meat: The Jerk of Pies: Tiny 5 year old Snacktastic, with her favorite Bad Company album in one hand (Feel like makin' love was my jam then much to my mother's horror) and a slobbery headless Barbie Doll in the other, sidles up to her bad Grammy's Christmas table. Bad Grammy has a bouffant and double knit polyester pants. Bad Grammy never visits to hear me regaling on and on about the wonders of this show I watch in school called the Letter People. Bad Grammy offers me a pie. It's a fraud. YUCK. Sweet weird meat in a crust. That's Bad Grammy.
1979, St Basile, New Brunswick
Lemon Meringue Pie: Caterpillar Blood on a Crust:I was on a trip to St Basile with my grandparents. Shopping in their massive, six store shopping area provided me the type of stylish duds that the other kids in the school didn't have. Not so bell-bottomy. I had discovered the Knack and 8 year old Snacktastic was ready for the New Wave of the 80s. My grandparents, GOOD GRANDPARENTS, were there to regale me with stories about WWII and how much they hated Americans. We sat down at an Irving Station on our way back and I was served this atrocity. I can't eat lemon yogurt or Lemon Meringue because of one thing—I've seen what caterpillars look like when they are squished—and that's what is on this pie.
Washington DC, 1988
Cherry Pie: Pie of the Proletariat When I was in HS, I went to Presidential Classroom. It was my first time on an airplane ever after I raised money through my rotary club. It was a bit surreal, chocked full of a lot of kids, especially rich kids from the South who liked to talk shit about everyone else. I found them weird. I realized I had been sheltered. They talked all the time about PECAN PIE, except they pronounced it differently than me. They talked about their expensive clothes and their riding lessons and their love of Reagan and their hope to go to Vanderbilt. I looked at my roommate, a young woman from Michigan and said, "I'll have the cherry pie."
Katowice, Poland, 1996
McDonald's Apple Pie: The Imperialist of Pie I spent a considerable amount of time during the early 90s in Eastern Europe, studying, teaching and drinking vodka. And having sex. And then more vodka. And also beer and maybe fried fish and palacinka. Gulyas. When I think about Eastern European food—especially Hungarian, which is different because Hungary is not a Slavic Country, I'm like NOM NOM NOM. But you know, occasionally I'd weary of using my terrible Polish and have dreams of being in a Cumberland Farms, eating nachos with delicious glutinous cheese (I had nachos in Ryga) and wandering around with a slurpy. I'd go to Katowice, a large town near mine and go to Benetton and then eat at McDonald's. I also went to the record store and bought Beastie Boys cassettes. Then other weird bands that never became big in the US, like Slowdive and shit.I'd always feel guilty, mostly because I knew that this was the pie of imperialism. Fucking American capitalist bullshit. But also, pie.
2008, Somerville, MA
Chicken Pot Pie: The Emperor of Pies I was going through a stressful period of life. WHAT DO I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE? Do I want to stay and try to slog my way through more clinical work? Do I want to go to grad school? Boston was too expensive and I knew it. I also felt like I was tired of my friends and needed some shaking up. As my ego became more fragile under the numerous changes and without music to satisfy my needs—by then, I just played epic amounts of Final Fantasy XI and LOTRO to deal with my frustration, I needed food and there are few foods in life that was more satisfying than Chicken Pot Pie. This is a savory pie. Dream-like and creamy with peas and crust and stuff. This pie was the pie of decision. Fortified. I knew what I must do.