Day 2 Pies:
- Bison Shepherd’s Pie
- Raspberry Blueberry Pie
- Lemon Custard Pie (gluten free)
- Repurposed Sweet Potato Apple Pie
- Heath Bar Pie (brought by Sean & Theresa)
Day two began well enough, I knew for sure the famed Dark Lady and her beau Sean would be joining us tonight, Sean has real specific dietary restrictions. Then, Jonas and Kate from AFRU Gallery sent word they would be delivering the art back from Shane’s recent exhibit there, Jonas said Kate is gluten free and not feeling so hot, so this was a night that I needed to plan carefully.
I decided a berry pie would be good for most every one, I did a bison Shepherd’s pie which was gluten free by default of no crust and no flour in the thickener, and a gluten free lemon custard. The guests began just rolling in long before I was ready with pie, so luckily there was some left from yesterday. We were joined by fellow relocated city dwellers Stephen and Alan whose great company is always a pleasure and by several of their friends Charlotte and Steven from California, and their neighbor LisaMarie. Theresa (aka Dark Lady) and Sean arrived from Portland with the wonderful Helen Metropolis, AND a Heath Bar pie made by Sean!!! How cool was that?!?! Some people think it’s bad form to bring pie to the Nine Days of Pie, but we welcome it, and especially when there is such a large group, and especially when someone has a restrictive diet – even if that diet includes Burger King over zucchini. Ha. Helen is someone we usually only get to see online, or in rushed and chaotic circumstances, so it was great to have her as a guest in person and overnight.
Then Jonas and Kate arrived. We were surprised to find they had never met Dark Lady & Sean since they are all part of the Portland underground, but that’s what the Nine Days Of Pie is for! Our final guest to arrive was our favorite local radio news reporter Karri who came by last night also. It was a packed house!
How fun! Except, for the first time in the history of the Nine Days Of Pie there was one among us who was not reveling in the fun and silliness of this holiday.
Let me first say, I am no pie expert. I have learned a lot from making pies over these years, but I am not an expert, and I do not sell myself as such. I am as proud of the failures as the successes because it all helps me learn and get better. In fact, I am seldom 100% pleased with any of the pies I make, to the point, I am told, of being ridiculous. I am not looking for praise or adoration for the pie, this holiday is about praising and adoring my husband Shane, it’s about celebrating life and friendship, and having interesting conversations, and bringing diverse people together, and sure it’s about pie, it’s called the Nine Days Of Pie, but at the same time it is not at all about pie.
On this night, a woman sat in the kitchen, and at first asked questions I was glad to answer, I don’t mind sharing my baking “secrets”, but as the kitchen warmed up everyone else headed into the cooler and more comfortable living room, her questions turned from basic baking questions to questions of my judgment, and then to blatant criticism. This was not “jewish grandmother” help, I was being heckled!
Normally, I would have politely suggested she join the others in the next room, but I’d reached a point where any word from my mouth would have shown my anger. That sounds lame, I know, but this is a small town, and anyone could have a bad day, I know I was now having one, and I prefer to control my emotions in such situations. But worse than my feelings, this was fucking up my pies! I was making mistakes, stupid ones, and I was running further and further behind. My Shepherds Pie looked lousy, the gluten-free lemon was questionable, everything was unraveling, and this woman kept smiling at me while her eyes appeared to be scowling. Granted, I was having cramps from hell, and had worked a full day at the j.o.b., but this was more than me being sensitive.
I chose to make Shepherd’s pie since it was gluten free – from lack of a crust and the fact that I never use flour to thicken, so it would be fine for Kate to eat, and Sean would probably like it too. Then, as I cut Kate a slice of the gluten-free lemon custard – the only other pie this lovely girl who came all the way from Portland while not feeling well, just to be at the Nine Days of Pie could eat, the heckler demanded that she wanted a slice, which then caused others to demand they wanted a piece, luckily by this time Shane had come into the kitchen and beat back the crowd from the Gluten Free pie saying it was ONLY for those who needed it.
Finally, and with absolutely no joy left in my heart, the final pie made it out of the oven. By this time most of our guests had left, and everyone seemed to be pretty full of pie. I sat down to enjoy some conversation with our remaining guests in the living room, Shane and I began to discuss the pies, he mentioned the Shepherd’s pie top was not browned as he was used to, and I explained I normally added an egg white and whipped them up a but and then brushed the top with the yolk, but I was out of sorts and forgot. Then the heckler piped up and said the reason the pie was no good was because I had not piped the potatoes from a pastry bag. While that is a fine way for some, I loathe pretty much everything about pastry bags, so I just smiled politely.
Shane asked about the final pie, the berry one, and I said it was fresh from the oven and would need a few hours to set up properly, or it would likely be soup. He suggested we just save it for the next day. At this point it was just Shane and I, our overnight guest Helen, and the heckler. Not 20 minutes after the exchange about the berry pie the heckler announced she would not be leaving until she had a slice of it. For me this was the final straw, it was late, I did not feel well, I was tired, I had to work in the morning. Without hesitation I went to the kitchen, cut into the pie, put a slice on a plate and handed it to her. She left shortly after.
As far as odds go, having ELEVEN guests at once inevitably leads to someone having a bad time. Normally, I would never so much as mention this less than pleasant experience in writing, I would have glossed over the entire thing, and I would never name names, but a whole drama played out a few days later, full of small town phone ranting apparently, and people questioning us about “what happened?”. To my surprise it was no secret, not by our hand of course, but because of all that I thought it needed addressing.