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Friday, March 14, 2014

3.14 Nuggets About Pie

Many years ago, my former in-laws, sweethearts though they were, trapped me in their mini-van for four hours so that I could experience the wonders of Pie Town, New Mexico. All I have to say about that four-hour road trip nearly twenty years later is this: Y'all, there was no pie. (I learned later that, in order to find pie, you have to show up in September.) In the hopes of making your Pi Day experience more pie-like, and to make up for decided lack of pie in my life, I give you 3.14 nuggets about pie:

1. I remember reading about Stargazy Pie in some book or other way back when. This delightfully macabre dish, which hails from Cornwall, England, consists of "pilchards baked in a pie with their heads poking through the crust" (Star). Now, for some reason, I always thought a pilchard was a type of bird, so I have always pictured either little bald bird heads (eek!) or still-feathered bird heads wafting bird feathers all in my pie (much worse!) Imagine my relief when I took the time to do some research and found that pilchards are, in fact, sardines:

Stargazy Pie,
with each pilchard gazing toward the stars

In my mind, this is much better than, say, mockingbird pie or bluebird pie. The unique arrangement of this pie allows the oil of the fish to drain back to the crust, making it more moist and delicious (greatbritishkitchen).

2. Have you ever heard someone refer to eating humble pie? I mean the turn of phrase, here, not the British rock band. It seems that this phrase used to mean something different than its current meaning, which is "to act submissively while admitting an error". Once upon a time, the word numbles started appearing in the English language. Numbles are all the yummy bits of meat from an animal carcass: the entrails, the heart, the liver, etc... The word gradually became umble, and then humble, where it began to pick up the "humble pie" connotation we all know.
Another kind of Humble Pie

3.  The Transcendentalist writer and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was a huge fan of pie. According to Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Emerson's mode of living was very simple: coffee in the morning, tea in the evening... but always pie at breakfast" (Holmes 362). Once, he was preparing to eat his morning meal with some acquaintances and offered them each in turn a large wedge of pie. When each one declined, Emerson said, in complete frustration, "But, Mr. So-and-so, what is pie for?" (Holmes 269). I'm with you, Emereson. Pie for breakfast each morning does sound divine.
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Pie Lover

.14 Not to be outdone, Jane Austen was also a pie devotee. The British author once wrote, "Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness." (Schulz 13).

I'm quite hungry now, after all this talk of pie, and I wasn't lucky enough to have pie for breakfast. Pie for lunch sounds divine as well!

Holmes, Oliver Wendell. American Men of Letters: Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1886. eBook.
Star. (2012). In Brewer's dictionary of phrase and fable. Retrieved from
Schulz, Phillip Stephen. As American as Apple Pie. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1990. Print.
Soukhanov, Anne, ed. Word Mysteries and Histories: From Quiche to Humble Pie. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986. Print.

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