Life of Pie
I didn’t grow up a pie lover. Offered the choice between pie for dessert and no dessert at all, I’d usually opt for the latter. Who are these strange people who long for pie, I’d wonder. Have they been deposited here by aliens who actually like fruit in their desserts? Have they never experienced a gooey brownie?
The pies of my youth were especially unappealing. No one offered me blueberry pie, or cherry pie, both of which looked awesome in Family Circle pictures but apparently couldn’t be had in upstate New York. Instead, we got Quebecois meat pie, which might have been good but was for dinner, not dessert, or, cruelest of all, mincemeat pie, a concoction of all the things kids feel, at best, tepid about. Raisins? Figs? Ginger? Suet? For dessert?! Sorry, I have homework to do.
My grandmother also made something called “tarte au sucre,” or sugar pie, which is, basically, a strong-tasting brown sugar bomb in a shell. In Canada, it was either that or a dry biscuit that was probably OK with coffee, but wasn’t particularly good otherwise. I’d eat sugar pie, though, because it didn’t contain any fruit.
Lately, I’ve emerged from those dark, pieless days thanks to my son, who has demonstrated, via near-daily consumption, the wonders of warm pie with ice cream. Apple pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie, or blueberry pie, heated in the microwave until oozing and steamy, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, is now, in my opinion, a tier-one dessert. This means it ranks up there with chocolate chunk cookies, Texas cake, and my mother’s best (though not original) concoction: caramel brownies.