My name is Jessica, and I like pie. Obviously.
But I don’t just make pies because I like them myself. The thing about pie is that it asks, more than almost anything else I can think of, to be shared. I’m sure I’m not the only math teacher who teaches fractions by drawing an imaginary pie on a whiteboard and dividing it into slices (the number of which depends on how many hypothetical pie-eaters are presented in the problem.) No one eats a whole pie all on their own. I mean, my husband apparently has (but that was clearly before we started dating.) Pie is supposed to be shared. Bottom line. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than making things that are easy to share with my friends. They don’t seem to mind. If they do, they’ve been very, very polite.
I come from a long line of pie-makers…corny, but true. Growing up, my family had a raspberry patch that seemed to spread its borders every single summer. Out-of-control raspberry patch=free berries in the freezer all year round=lots of raspberry pies made by my mom (with a meager amount of help from me.) Then there’s my Grandmother Sweeny, who is the queen of pie as far as I’m concerned. My early memories of visiting my Minnesota grandparents include: too many mayflies, the mini rollercoaster at Como Park Zoo, blueberry pie accompanied by massive scoops of ice cream.
On a seemingly unrelated note, my right thumb is slightly deformed. It’s far shorter and fatter than its left counterpart and has a weird rectangular fingernail. It basically looks like a big toe. I didn’t even notice it until I was about thirteen, don’t ask me how that’s possible. At that time it also came up that my cousin Carly has the exact same oddity. We were told by some wise elders that these special thumbs were called “pie thumbs,” because they were perfect tools for shaping pie crusts. When I got married, Carly gave me Ken Haedrich’s cookbook Pie. I had never made a pie completely by myself, but I was excited to try and made a couple of the pies from the book the first year Levi and I were married. The details get blurry after that. At some point, I decided that I wanted to get really, really good at making pie and that the best way to do that would be to bake every pie (300 of them!) in my book. Since then, I have graduated from university, moved across the country, lived in India for four months, moved into a house, and started a full-time job. Life is always going to be busy, and sometimes it gets a little bit too busy. Baking pies has become my “time-out” time, my relaxing and having fun time. It reminds me to slow down, it encourages my creativity, and it allows me to share. Thanks for sharing with me.