How could it be that a month has flown by and I’ve not sat down to write about pies? Actually, there are many reasons, most notably my Dad’s hospital stay and subsequent recovery. This experience has been exhausting for both of us and I guess this is my main excuse for not writing. However, that has not kept me from baking!
Dad is getting stronger each day and as you can imagine, much of my summer has been focused on his care and recovery. However, if you know me at all, you know that I have found time to make quite a few pies. Truly, I think that baking has helped me to keep a positive focus.
The first pie I made during this last month was a quiche for my Dad’s surgeon, Dr.Monte Stewart. I greatly appreciate all of the time and care that he gave to my Dad. (I also brought Banana Blueberry Muffins to the nurses at Asante Ashland. They were so wonderful… I can’t thank them enough!)
A short time later, I made a gluten-free blueberry peach pie for my friend Marcia because she is always doing things for others. I found her at home recovering from a minor surgery and really in need of a pick-me-up. It made me glad that I was able to do that for her and I just love when this project works out like that!
Yet another quiche was delivered to a friend who is caring for her ailing husband. I love them both dearly and any time they allow me to bring food I feel honored to be allowed into their close family circle.
At the end of July my Dad celebrated his 79th birthday. As he was (and still is) in a skilled nursing facility, I brought him a pizza “pie” to share with some of the other clients there. When I walked into the dining room, I overheard a woman named Linda say to her friend, “She’s (referencing me) is my new best friend.” Then Linda wheeled herself over to my Dad’s table and quietly waited. After I served Dad and his table mates, I turned to Linda and said, “Are you my new best friend?” She seemed surprised but then smiled as she realized I’d heard her… and then graciously accepted a slice of pizza.
After the pizza was served, I gave out slices of Raspberry Peach pie. The moans of delight coming from those folks was music to my ears!
Then there was the Paleo-Peach Pie that I made for a friend who is experiencing major challenges. This pie was my way of recognizing and supporting her during this trying time. Here is the recipe
that I found on http://www.scrawnyWOD.com
Last week I made another raspberry peach pie… and delivered it to my friend Robbin. Years ago she was part of the Conservation Commision (her area of expertise is water conservation) and more recently she has been helping my friend Claudia with estate sales. A short time ago I was at one such estate sale and found several pie dishes there. When I asked Robbin how much they were, she took them to Claudia to ask. Later I found out that Robbin had bought them for me! I really don’t know what she thinks I need pie dishes for….but I wanted to thank her for thinking of me just the same!
As we chatted, I told Robbin that years ago another woman had told me that she had quit baking (and began painting) because she saw baking as a “temporal” art. For a while that made me sad because it’s so true. The things that I bake are here today… and gone tomorrow (if they last that long).
Yet temporal though they may be, over the last few years I have learned that some of these gifts of pie are remembered long after the pie has been eaten. Perhaps like the butterfly effect, each pie, though small, may have more impact than I can ever realize. It’s not a bad thing to hope for anyway!
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
And lastly, a silly picture of my family… I am one lucky lady!
These last few weeks have been pretty busy with doctors appointments (for my Dad) and a few catering jobs for me. When Monday rolled around I felt I needed to stay home and dig out from what felt like months of paperwork. I was able to toss a bunch of things (doesn’t that always feel good?) and organize the pile that I kept. For the first time in months I was able to see the top of my desk! Woohoo!
After that amazing (for me) accomplishment, I needed to celebrate by baking a pie. Fortunately, my friend Sue had a birthday this week and that gave me the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe I was given by our mutual friend, Bajr. The recipe was for a Rhubarb Custard Pie… and luckily I had the right amount of rhubarb in my fridge (from my neighbor Deb) and just a handful of raspberries to toss in for color. This is what it looked like when it went into the oven.
Bajr’s Rhubarb Custard Pie
When the pie emerged from the oven an hour or so later, it looked pretty much the same… and it smelled delicious! When it was cool enough to pick up, I drove it over to Sue’s house, but unfortunately she was not at home. I left the pie in a safe space by her door and sent her a text letting her know that it was home waiting for her. Later, we talked and she told me that she shared the pie with herJefferson Public Radio co-workers and she was delighted to have the original recipe from Bajr.
Then yesterday I finally got around to making a pie for a couple who I’d been thinking of for some time. I’ve known Alma and Bill for years and have admired them for many reasons and once had even brought a pie to church for them! That particular day, Alma and Bill were not at church and so instead I went with my intuition and gave the pie to another. That would not happen this time! I chose to make them a Raspberry Peach Pie… because the peaches were so fragrant and the berries bright and beautiful. Here is the before baking photo…. lovely isn’t it?
Raspeberry Peach Pie
After the pie was done (and you can tell it is done when the fruit juices are bubbling through the crust like this)
Then, I drove the pie to Alma and Bill’s house. As was the case with Sue, they were not at home. I tucked my name into the saran wrap covering the pie and left it on their doorstep. A short while later, I received a lovely call from Alma thanking me for the pie. As I listened to her words I thought, “How lucky I am to be able to make people happy by doing something that I love.” I wish that everyone could discover how good that feels!
“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” Ella Fitzgerald
A short time ago, my friend Barbie helped me with a major project. She was prompt, professional and prepared. And when the project was completed, she stayed to help clean up. She was an angel when I needed one.
Since she would not accept payment from me for her work, I asked if I could please make a special dessert for her when she needed one. This offer was acceptable to her and the other day Barbie called to ask if I would make a fruity dessert for her son’s birthday. A fruity dessert? That sure sounded like a pie to me and so today I went shopping for some fresh fruit.
At the Ashland Food Coop I noticed the raspberries first – plump and brightly colored – they called out to me. But I didn’t want to make a pie with only raspberries and so I kept shopping. That’s when I saw the peaches and right away I knew what I was going to do.
Once home, I peeled and sliced the peaches. Next, I added the raspberries to the bowl. I have to admit that it already looked yummy!
Then I added sugar, flour and a dash of nutmeg to the fruit and gently mixed it all together. I put this mix into the pie shell that I’d prepared.
In about an hour, I took the finished pie from the oven. It smelled divine!
Tonight I send heartfelt birthday wishes to Barbie’s son. May this be his best year yet!
Today I was thinking about working in my yard. While I am not much of a gardener, I do try to take care of the area that we have. I’ve dug up my share of weeds, planted a few vegetables, mowed, mulched, and tended to a compost bin. And at each juncture, I have relied on the advice from the staff at the Ashland Grange Co-op. Immediately I knew that I would bring a pie to these fine folks.
Growing up, I do not remember anything like the grange and so I was really pleased when we moved to Ashland to find a place where I could learn more about gardening. The staff there really wants to help you find the right product for your needs. A few years back, I wanted to improve the lawn in my backyard and I went to the grange for some grass seed. The gentlemen who helped me asked me a lot of questions: what was my goal, what was the soil in my yard like, how much sun did the area get, etc. Only after he knew enough about my situation did he suggest a plan of action and the products to achieve my goal. And my lawn is much improved because of his help.
Raspberry Peach Pie
Today when I went to the grange to deliver my pie, Karen was at the register. I told her that I had brought a pie for the staff. She asked why and I began, “You know how when you have a problem with your yard….” and immediately she said, “Tell me what you have done so far.” “Exactly!” I said. “You all seem to jump right in and ask questions to help. I really like that.”
Finished Raspeberry Peach Pie
Now this might not have been what Karen was expecting, but I can tell that she really appreciated my gesture. It is a simple way to thank the men and women at the Grange who spend their time everyday finding solutions to our garden (and pet) needs.