When I began the interviewing process with the Diocese of Connecticut, my one piece of advice was, “Whatever you do, don’t say pie.” Being a Texan, I do pretty well avoiding the twang until I begin to talk about pie, and then I give myself away. I am definitely not from Connecticut.
Pie is a word easily to avoid in conversation except in my family which is passionate about the perfect blend of salty crust and sweet filling. My mother has the perfect crust recipe–oil, milk, flour, and salt–that requires no skill at all; just mix the four ingredients with a fork and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper.
When I was growing up, report card day was always an occasion for my mother’s chocolate pie, unmatched in deliciousness to this day. It was the perfect gift–a bonus for a good report card; a sweet reassurance if the grades were less than good.
Pie continues to be a tangible sign of love for me–sacramental, incarnational, if you will.
When my son got married on Holy Cross Day last year in Portland, Oregon (I safe in Portland while Hurricane Ike blew and destroyed in Houston), the addition my family made to the wedding feast was groom’s pie, that is pies. My two brothers and my sister-in-law rolled and stirred and baked eight pies in my son’s tiny apartment kitchen the night before the wedding. A chocolate, a pecan, two sweet potato, a marionberry, two peanut butter, and a blueberry with the bonus of two big pans of Leslie’s “mountain mama” for the eighty or so guests who would also be having dinner and wedding cake, too.
I carried a piece of marionberry home to Houston on the plane the next day, and it was manna as I sat in a house without electricity or water and cleaned up the damage left behind at the rectory.
Tomorrow I am making the five or so hour drive from Houston to Dallas to make my video for the Bishop Election website. My brother is a film maker, and he is graciously doing the shoot (with call in questions from Connecticut) to save the cost of a Connecticut trip.
After we post the footage at the airport and go out to dinner to celebrate, I’ll drive another hour north to visit my mother in Chambersville for a couple of days. I’m not sure if we’ll have pie or not, but I know my mother will make me one if I only ask. Pie is sacramental, incarnational after all. No matter how you say it.
My mom’s pie crust (makes enough for two):
2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
Mix flour and salt. Mix oil and milk. Pour oil and milk into flour and salt and stir until combined into a dough. Can add more milk if dry. Separate into two balls (save one ball for another pie). Roll crust out between two sheets of wax paper and line a pie pan with crust.