This past weekend I baked two pies.
The first was cherry, a request from a sweet young friend who wanted to learn how to bake one for her husband. She came over Saturday afternoon, and I walked her through the pie crust and filling recipes. It was a joy spending time with her, sharing stories, and giggling as we bathed ourselves in flour. I sent Kylie home with a warm pie, complete with hugs and love for her and her husband Drew.
The second was an apple, made for my niece who got into the high school of her choice down in St. Louis (According to my lovely sister-in-law, it’s a St. Louis/Catholic thing. You can look it up.). I made Chloe a celebatory deep dish apple pie that I hope she shares with her family. This smart girl is also a fabulous baker, so I love whipping up sweet pies for her.
The most time-consuming aspect about baking an apple pie is peeling and slicing the apples. Every time I begin this process I always think about that scene in Sleepless in Seattle when Tom Hanks tells his young son the story about how his late wife could peel an apple in one long, curly strip, AND we later see Meg Ryan at her kitchen table peeling an apple in a singular swoop. My mother has told me that my Nana could do the same thing. As I make my way through a bag of apples, I carefully guide my knife against the skin of each one as the green peel curls onto the counter. I don't always succeed, but I love the attempt. I imagine my Nana in her kitchen back in Burlington, Wisconsin, peeling green apples. With each cut of the knife, I honor this formidable woman. I can feel her presence in my hands and in my heart.
With my pies, I share love, warmth, and contentment with friends and family. It is like giving a small piece of my heart to others. I know that sounds hokey and even a bit corny, but it is truly how I feel.
It is also where I find a sense of calm and peace within myself. I try to concentrate on each step, experiencing the textures and smells. It is a form of moving meditation, complete with cinnamon and fruit.
Another pie day awaits!