pies and peas

March 6, 2014

book publishing, gift guides

There are some who’d say that all a woman really needs is a good lipstick, that it can lift the face and a mood with just a swipe. While I believe this is truer of blush, I still submit to pie as the great salve to all. You can have a ghastly day, but even the idea of a pie on a windowsill somewhere, even in a story, brings on a sigh. It’s country. It’s handmade. It’s traditional comfort, something a mother somewhere makes with her thumbs. She wears an apron and has chicken wire in her life somewhere. Oh. But then there’s supermarket pie: the worst. The why bother. The no.

In planning the Thanksgiving pie onslaught, I’d combed through the pages of well-marked cookbooks and archived food magazines, coming up with squat. I was on the hunt for something new. So I turned to new cookbooks, two of which I share below.

In particular, The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book captured my eye with its Rosemary Honey Shoofly Pie recipe. I haven’t made it yet, mind you, but this book just seems dead-on pie weight balls accurate. Original. Interesting. Pie It Forward has me begging for summer fruits. While yes, the book includes recipes for savory pies, I can’t keep myself from dreaming of its strawberry tarts and wild blueberry pies. Sigh.

Then there are my two peas in a pod, Lucas and Abigail, with whom I’ve been spending an unusual amount of time during the day, during the week, thanks to New York snow days off from school. There have been promises of forts made, Easy Bake Oven enticements, but mostly we’ve been making crafts and cleaning the playroom and making yeasty waffles from scratch. And, we’ve been reading, two new favorites Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect. That, and the crafting ideas have been generated party from my imagination and partly from a browse through this sucker.

By far, though, my favorite of the books is this one: Show Me a Story.

This book is brilliant! From story dice (or cubes) to story stones and maps to timelines to puppet shows, there are so many wonderful ideas throughout this book that inspire and expand the conversation. Lucas often has stories to tell, but he tells them in disjointed words, scattered about like metal jacks splayed across a floor. When we create story cubes, for example, he’s able to create transitions, forcing order, creating the necessary transitional connective tissue that his stories lacked. He can line up his cubes, so he no longer needs to remember the order of his story. It’s laid out in front of him. Now he can relax and focus on each detail, take his time, knowing that he won’t forget what comes next in his story. This is wonderful! Hell, I love this book for myself! I think it helps with writing.

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3 Responses to “pies and peas”

  1. 3 teens' mom Says:

    Pie. My mom makes the best pie in the world…is renowned for her pie crust. Her pecan and pumpkin pies are things of dreams.

    The lovah and I were in a hot tub about 2 years ago, talking about the ultimate comfort foods in our worlds. I said brie en croute, home made caramel, champagne (I know, I know – not a foot). His was immediate…peanut butter pie. Well, I’d never heard of it. But what is better than surprising ones’ lovah with their favorite food? So, I googled it.

    I found what had to be it – a complicated recipe with pie crust, chocolate, cooked custard….and I made it for him. It took an hour and a half. He tasted it and proclaimed it to be fabulous…what was it? I said ‘your peanut butter pie!!’ He said, ‘not my peanut butter pie, but it’s wonderful’. I was flummoxed.

    He told me his favorite was his ex-wife’s mother’s pie, then texted his ex-wife and got the recipe. He e-mailed it to me, and my phone ate it. But I saw most of the ingredients…but couldn’t believe them. So I googled it.

    I made it again, a much simpler pie, and he was in heaven – but it was still not the right pie.

    Then we went on vacation to Florida, and went to a restaurant that served the famous peanut butter pie. It was delicious and pure and made with loving hands.

    So I fessed up and admitted I lost the recipe. He found it and sent it again. Now I was really baffled because it is BEYOND simple.

    I made it last week, and he’s forever in love. Then I found the little individual graham cracker crusts and I have the makings of the pie in the fridge for the urgent pie moments. Not kidding…simplest recipe ever.

    1 graham cracker pie crust
    1 box vanilla pudding
    1 c. peanut butter
    1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
    1 med. Cool Whip, optional

    Mix vanilla pudding with 1/2 c. melted peanut butter.
    In small bowl add 1/2 c. peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar. Mix with fork until crumbly. Put half of this mixture in bottom of pie crust. Add prepared vanilla pudding. Sprinkle the top with remaining peanut butter mixture. Optional – spread Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with more peanut butter mixture.

    Reply

  2. Ulli Says:

    You are one awesome mom, I really think so. It’s really great how involved you are and the creativity behind what you do.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Klein Says:

      Thank you, Ulli. We all have our strengths. I’m good at some things, crap at others. My kids still can’t ride bikes, and I don’t push them at sports. I let Phil deal with the physical stuff (except for swimming, I made that happen in a big way). But I don’t push. I find that it’s much more effective to pay attention to what your child’s natural talents are, and then to help them develop those talents into strengths. But I don’t know that I expose them to enough. Though I do my best. I feel like I live at the museums and out in nature and in art closets… and in the kitchen, obviously.

      Reply

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