I’m convinced that God made pie to bring me joy.

I baked my first pie of the fall season this evening. It’s a little shocking to me that I’ve managed to delay this long. I think I may have been actually tricked into delaying by the southern temperatures that have hovered closer to 70 degrees than 60. I don’t hate the temps, but I am frustrated that they’ve confused my internal pie-maker.

PieI’ve written before of my love of pie. I love pie. I love most kinds of pie. I have established myself as the pie-innards maker in my family. My father, on the other hand, has established himself as the pie crust maker in the family. That only bothers me a little bit.

Two years ago, Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and Philly and knocked out a power plant in Newtown leaving me without power for the better part of four days. Fortunately, I had a gas stove, so with a lighter and an iron skillet, I was still able to cook food and not forced to subsist on emergency rations—though I do remember drinking a whole lot of milk the first night.

I’d made a pumpkin pie right before the storm, and it became my primary sustenance in those four days. I kept it out on the dryer in the lean-to (because when the weather was 55 degrees or less outside, that made as good a fridge as any, and it saved me having to open my own fridge and let the cool out).

I’d slice a piece of the pie, set it in the skillet, light the burner and slowly warm it through. Toasty-bottomed pumpkin pie. A quality life choice.

My final evening without power, I was done. Our house had been built in the 1800s and between the drafty windows and the stone and plaster walls, all the warmth had been drawn away by day four. Power had returned to campus, so I’d worked that day, but when I got home and took one step inside my frigid kitchen, I looked at the pumpkin pie and bade it farewell.

Joy-in-a-pan though it was, sustenance though it was, balanced meal though I argued it was…Applebee’s had power again and I was going out to eat.

Rethinking Scarcity: New Post at The High Calling

Slaten and Rogers

Two artists: Son of Laughter and Jonathan Rogers. Photo by Mark Geil.

I’ve got a new post up at The High Calling today. I was asked to write on the theme of “rethinking scarcity”—and to look at in the context of art. Immediately I thought of the ways the artists I know come together and support one another in their work, forming communities that not only advance the production of art, but also deepen its quality.

“The Industry” is not dead, but it is desperately trying to stay alive in most cases—often at the expense of good art. So those who want to create new art, quality art, honest and true art, are forced (and, I think, will increasingly be forced) to step outside the industries. Rather than seeing this as a setback, perhaps we should look at the situation as a gift—and a challenge:

From the post:
“I expect no one would disagree that creative innovation often arises from scarcity. From Ritz cracker apple pie to the dinners we developed with nothing but a microwave and hot pot during college, some creative spark in human nature thrives when put to the challenge of limited resources.

Likewise, in comparison to the booming creative industries of the 1990s, today’s musicians and authors—even some of those signed with major labels and publishers—are creating within the context of limited resources. While the leaders of the companies that produce and distribute much of our art are cautious about taking costly risks like launching a new artist, rapid developments in technology allow artists willing to take the risk themselves to bypass the industry and get their work into the hands of the audience. Adam Young of Owl City wrote in 2012: ‘Here at the outset of a new century everyone is back at the starting line fighting to be heard. It’s effortless to hear and steal new music so bands have to think of ways to reinvent themselves and turn the box inside out.’

So perhaps it is no surprise that there is a particular richness in some of the art being created today when economics and technology have joined together to topple the industries of yester-year.”

Read more at The High Calling.

Serious Thoughts on Pie

I’ve been copying posts from my old Xanga blog to a document for safe keeping today and I came across this delightful post from 2004 which I feel the need to share again. My thoughts on pie remain adamantly so formed:


Originally posted, Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I get to make pies tomorrow morning.  On Sunday, my sister made the comment that she was tired of apple pie.  I consider that statement to be utter sacrilege.  There is no way a good human being can be tired of apple pie unless they have made a pact with the devil.  That is my firm belief.  But then, my sister is far more of a chocolate fanatic than I, and apple pie does not go well hand-in-hand with chocolate.  But in my opinion, cinnamon can take the place of chocolate in most situations – I do not disavow the necessity for chocolate at certain points in everyone’s life, but cinnamon is a close partner in satisfaction.

That stated, you now have my views on chocolate and cinnamon, but have you completely caught my love of pie?  I hereby state emphatically that pie is next to godliness.  In almost any form, pie is the perfect dessert.  And fruit pie is the perfect dessert, or breakfast, or lunch, or even dinner.  I’m not a great fan of blueberry pie – I prefer my blueberries to still resemble berries, nor am I a great fan of cherry pie, unless it is homemade without using that canned slop.  But apple, raspberry, multi-berry, even peach pies are edible at any time, in any place.  Pumpkin pies are best when enjoyed with a slathering of whipped cream on top, and are also edible for most meals of the day.

Making pie crust is a delicate art, one which I strive to perfect, though my father is leaps and bounds ahead of me in the practice–and he’s only been making pies for three years.  A good pie crust is light, buttery, flaky, etc.  It falls apart when one’s fork punctures it, and the innards of the pie should ooze all over the plate, tempting the eater to lick his plate when finished with his pie (reason X why pie should be enjoyed solitarily, so that the eater can lick his plate without facing censure from society).  A good pie crust is not at all sweet – thus giving the eater the joy of the sweetness (preferably tart sweetness) of the pie innards without interference from the crust.

One final note – it is my firm belief that crumble tops are of the devil – they are cop-outs to making a pie top and get soggy too quickly.

In her own defense, Loren posted this comment:


My dear little sister >:)~

I am mortally anguished by your associating my boredom with apple pie and any sort of pact with the devil…But then, come to think of it, there is certainly a common link made between that dark creature and chocolate…No, I will not recant!

Much love, Loren