On Monday morning I stood in a friend’s kitchen, whisk in hand stirring slowly waiting patiently for my lemon curd to come to a boil and thicken. We were baking a lemon meringue pie for a co-worker’s birthday and I was in heaven. Baking is one of those creative activities that combines instruction, logic, and a bit of personality. I absolutely love the fact that if I follow the instructions, in one hour, I will have a beautiful pie. I walked into the bookstore that morning proud as a peacock and happy to display my toasted meringue. When my friend picked me up to go food shopping, the Joy of Cooking sat between us. The sun was shining as we drove to the co-op and I looked down at her tattered copy and knew it was going to be a great morning. Irma Rombauer wrote the Joy of Cooking for women who were getting back to the kitchen after years of having cooks and servants. What she wanted to show them through careful description and attention to detail was that cooking, hosting, preparing a meal whether it be for ten or two could truly be joyful. And she gave me a whole heaping tablespoon full this week when I followed her instruction. Here’s the intro to the chapter on pies,
Pies came to America with the Pilgrims, and our love affair with these desserts has continued ever since. Southerners dote on pecan, chess, and sweet potato pies, New Englanders adore pumpkin pie, and the Pennsylvania Dutch never need an excuse to make a shoofly pie. But pie-making has kept pace with changing times as well. In this century, refrigeration made possible cream and chiffon pies, and as the century ends, pies are filled with chocolate (lots of it), peanut butter, caramel, coffee, ice cream, or any mousse imaginable.
I hope this Wednesday finds you in a joyful mood and if not, there’s always a home-made pie at the local bakery waiting for you.