Ravings of a Somnambulant Baker
I am not a morning person.
Take this morning for instance: I got out of bed and, as is my somnambulant habit of the past couple weeks, I turned on the oven to 400˚F. I pulled the disks of pie dough out of the fridge and put them on the counter to warm up. Then I began washing and pitting cherries. Then I rolled out the crust. Then—and only then—do I add the sugar, tapioca starch, a generous dash of cinnamon, a pinch and a half of clove and the magic elixir to the waiting cherries. A gentle mixing, the lattice topping, and into the oven it goes. Set the timer to 50 minutes. I do it almost every morning during cherry pie season. I can do it in my sleep. This whole pie-a-day thing wouldn’t be possible if I couldn’t. A girl needs all the sleep she needs. Especially this girl.
Once the pie is in the oven, I tidy up, return emails and change out of what I slept in. Imagine my horror this morning when, while putting away the spices, I discovered I had pulled out a jar of cayenne rather than clove. There was no turning back. It was already in the oven. WTF.
I’m not a morning person. WTF.
I stuck my finger in the pie juices. Sweet then sour then spicy on my tongue. WTF. I did what any normal person would do in the face of that kind of disaster. I fried up all the bacon I had in my fridge—about a dozen thick slices.
The pie and the bacon went in the basket and rode downtown with me. By the time I got to the office, all of Facebook had heard about the disaster. WTF.
I met Mrs Wheelbarrow for a pie lunch at the gallery. She knows from sour cherries. She came up from our nation’s capital for her first ever slice. I was embarrassed to serve her this compromised pie. But of course she had already heard that I was not a morning person from mutual friends. She was kind. I almost believed she enjoyed her slice. I began to believe her more when she had another slice.
We’ve been discussing the merits of canned pie filling for a year now. Of course, she makes her own and I have no doubt it is the best of the best. She is a preservationista. Everything this woman puts in a jar is top notch. But I am a purist. I would rather do without. But we agreed the difference is analogous to fresh summer tomatoes vs. home canned tomatoes. Sometime in the dead of winter that jar of summer is a soul saver. But I am a purist. I’ll use canned and frozen sour cherries for other things. Not. In. My. Pie. I know it’s nutso.
So now you know why I was doubly irked. It wasn’t that this slightly piquant pie wasn’t delicious. It was pretty damn good. It just wasn’t my pie—the pie whose raison d’être is pure tart fruit flavor. Now I am raving. I am a raving, not-a-morning-person having a perfectly good piece of pie with someone I admire. I feel it is a huge fuck up. There I said it.
But I had another piece too.