With a Little Help from My Friends


Pie + Friends = Love (Photo by Stephen Gross)

I help a lot of people with their pie projects—Blog posts, recipe development, wild ideas for pie fillings, odd and innovative doughs that usually work but sometimes not. And, in doing so, I find that there’s less and less time for me to actually get all the reading and writing, and recipe development done for my own projects!   Hmmm…what’s up with that.

Anyway, as time is limited for all of us, I want to make sure that I write about things that you are interested in—things that will keep you coming back for more.

Your comments will help me to know just what that is but honestly, I haven’t figured out what the magic formula is to inspire you to comment.

Is there some catchy phrase I’m supposed to have put at the bottom of the blog post? Or, am I supposed to enter into the whole giveaway thing that many bloggers do?

So, I am asking you to help me by letting me know what would you be interested in hearing about. Some ideas that first come to mind as I’m writing to you are:

  • Other Bakers and Authors with Whom I’ve Had the Good Fortune to Meet and Bake
  • My Life in Professional Music (yes, I did have another career…or two, before this)
  • Building a Post and Beam Dream House; Selling It and Moving to a Tree House; Selling That and Moving to a Small Cottage (a/k/a Pie Cottage).
  • Pie Cottage, a Work in Progress (sort of like me, too!)
  • Stories of Growing Up in Santa Barbara
  • What Pie Has Taught Me About Life
  • Living on a Blueberry U-Pick Farm
  • How Did I Turn into a Pie Maker
  • Rolling Pins I Have Loved
  • My Favorite Ovens
  • Loves…and Losses
  • Pie Disasters
  • Pie Miracles
  • Pie Recipes
  • My Family
  • My Dog

Well, the list could go on and on, but now I need to hear from you. Would you like my blog to become a personal narrative or would you like it to be technique tips and recipes only. Do you want more pictures? Are you ok with no pictures?

I would LOVE to know and I need to know, too.

So if you would, leave me a comment below and I’ll leave one for you!

Love to you all from Pie Cottage,

Share Art of the Pie


  1. says

    Your blog has inspired me to cook from time to time. I got a bunch of Garland cooking equipment for the home (big kitchen) and decided to start taking up pie baking. Definitely been a fun & delicious time! Keep up the good work with the blog.

    • says

      Hi Andy-
      Thank you for checking in. Sounds like you have a great kitchen! I’d love to hear how your pie baking progresses and hope you’ll keep checking in on the blog. Be Happy, Make Pie!

  2. says

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks for asking! The topics I’d be most interested in are:
    •What Pie Has Taught Me About Life
    •Living on a Blueberry U-Pick Farm
    •How Did I Turn into a Pie Maker
    •Pie Disasters
    •Pie Miracles
    •Pie Recipes

    And pictures are a must!

    If you want to wrap your personal narrative into these topics, that would be cool.

    Cheers, and here’s to flaky, flaky, flaky,

  3. says

    In the last few years I mostly read on my phone or tablet, and those aren’t the easiest to type on. I find I respond to posts that ask me a questions with a quick and easy answer I can type, or that give me a multiple choice option. When blogs do that, the quality of my responses has gone down, but the volume has increased. Is that what you want? What’s your goal? Lots of comments? Or more thought-provoking comments? Either way, ask a question at the end of each post. Make it one line. Make it bold. Make it multiple choice, fill in the blank, yes/no, or essay. Try it out and see where you get the response you are looking for.

    I want to belong to a community, a group of people who are unapologetically passionate about pie. People who would rather experiment with three different kinds of crusts and possibly have all of them fail, rather than purchase a pie at the local grocery store. People who aren’t afraid of butter. Or lard. Or heavy cream. People who are so excited about their upcoming Pie Workshop that they have an enormous Pie Countdown map on their wall (yup, that’s me). So I love learning about you, and other cooks you meet, and people who take your classes. Pie successes and pie failures. Shortcuts, tricks, and great ideas. I want to know about your kitchens – you’ve spent time in so many, you must have learned a lot!!

    Thanks for asking. Can’t wait to see what turns up!

    • says

      Andrea- These are great suggestions and I will try them along with many of the suggestions from everyone…one or two at a time.

      I love to make pie. I am passionate about teaching the craft. And, I think it is totally GREAT that you have a Pie Countdown on your wall!

  4. says

    I have enjoyed most all of those posts you have published. The recipes and the stories; some with tears, some with smiles or chuckles, some just leaving me in awe of your poetic soul. So I would agree and say all of the above. I have noticed that for some smaller blogs, the comment rate has dropped off markedly in the past few years, even if readership increases. I guess people just pin things and fly on to the next task nowadays. :(

    Oh, and I find you first thing on google and bing when I search “art of the pie”.

    • says

      Oh Kelly! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve never been told that I have poetic soul. Some of the most personal posts I have done, are the ones that have the most meaning for me, and as you may well imagine, are the most challenging to write. I have literally been on the floor in tears at times. But, it’s worth it to hear that it reaches you. :-)

  5. Bergen says

    I for one am definitely interested in how you got to your current career. I’d also like to read more about why you prefer certain ingredients or how to go about procuring the best pie ingredients. Also, teach me kitchen Zen… Love!

  6. Elaine says

    Marvelous stories about Pie and Life! Keep ’em coming, I savor every bite.
    Tips about tools (I collect rolling pins). Tasty Pie recipes, your Pie journey, and beautiful dog…
    I’m interested in All Things Pie!

    • says

      Hi Elaine- Aren’t rolling pins cool? I would love to hear about your collection…maybe see some photos of interesting ones. Thanks so much for checking in!

  7. Carole says

    Yes! I think the journey and the influences make the pies that much more interesting. But, making sure the pies stay in the forefront is crucial. I like the way “use more butter” often starts with a non-food story and always ends with a recipe. More pix would be nice, but that’s because we’ve become very visual. And they usually tantalize us into action. Stories from you about disasters, miracles, pins, tins, ovens, etc, would all be fascinating.

    I found out about you through a reference from Brave Tart.

    Pie as love and the love of making pie is what you seem to be about and it comes through quite clearly; so, in that way, your blog is a great success!

    • says

      Thank you, Carole, for checking in. I agree that generally we’ve become so photo oriented. All my photos are taken with my phone. It’s not my main focus for sure but sounds like I need to be putting more energy there.

  8. Paula says

    Oh — I just realized you had loads of other comments that I just read. I (and I think lots of others, based on other food-related blogs I read) like to know about pies AND you. A really good example is Deb Perelman’s http://www.smittenkitchen.com. She writes about food, her kid, her tiny apartment, and has gorgeous how-to pictures of the stuff she makes. She has TONS of followers, and so many comments, she can’t even respond. She recently came out with a book of recipes and did a wildly successful national book tour.

    And I checked — smittenkitchen is a wordpress blog, but I did a bunch of google searches on pie, apple pie, how to make a pie, pie crust, and lots more, and yours didn’t come up on google at all. Well, maybe it would have, but I stopped after 10 pages for each. So, make sure that you’re using the right key words that will get picked up by search engines.

    I do enjoy what you write!

  9. Paula says

    I love reading your blog postings, and I always do, but … I don’t usually have anything profound to add. I like all of the topics you mentioned.

    • says

      Thank you, Paula. I love hearing that you do, too. One of my favorite things about you is that sent me that beautiful picture of your first apple pie after your workshop in DC! You truly are one of my pie sisters. xo

  10. Cathy says

    ooops I meant to say they are NOT going to find the blog on search engines because it is nestled into the web site in a wordpress format

  11. Cathy says

    Kate, I have several suggestions but I’m starting with a big one you may not like.
    1)Get your blog out of wordpress! It’s not searchable. You want to keep regular readers, of course, But you need new readers/more readers. And they are going to find you through search with the blog nestled inside the larger site.
    2)okay, so I admit it. I’m grouchy. I’m not so big on the personal spiritual journey of artisans — weird for a religion writer to say, I know. But your great claim to attention for your blog is that you are a pie artisan. Veering off to the dog or the cottage – both ADORABLE – is fine now and then but someone who finds your blog linked to Art of the Pie is mostly there for art and pie.
    3) Disasters and miracle, ovens and ingredients, are the point. Life lessons woven into those topics is sugar on the crust — delightful but only a little is needed to make the point.
    4) Now and then, of course, spice it up. Get people to submit their pie rolling play list on their iPods. I just loved R&B rolling music at pie cottage!
    5) Quirky explainers — I always do a pie-autopsy. Once it’s cut, i’m trying to figure — was the trim even or bunchy-thick in spots? Why is all the tapioca at the bottom? Bigger apple slices or thinner? I’ll stare into the cutaway of the crust — flakey or solid or, horrors! gummy (blech!)
    By the way, you have to change my email to cathylynngrossman@usatoday.com since i leave USAT on May 9

    • says

      Got it, Cathy. And from a journalist of many years, I take these suggestions very seriously. If not WordPress, then where?
      So what’s next for you? More baking? Maybe come to MT for Pie Camp? Maybe come to Pie Cottage just to hang out?
      By the way, I did do some blog posts on Pie Music that was pretty darn fun.

      • Cathy says

        I would totally LOVE to come to Montana but that lovely resort is over my price range right now. But you’ll certainly see me out Seattle way sometime in the next year.
        As for a blog home online that is searchable with google or bing, you should ask one of your smarter web friends. Many people like Tumbler but I don’t know if it is searchable and, honestly, I think it is a visual mess. Try looking at the reviews for some of these: http://www.consumer-rankings.com/hosting/
        Also, don’t take my word for things. I tried testing your blog and did not find it through search. But I was able to find my friend’s web page on wordpress through a search. So… was I wrong? Or was the issue that the blog is set in the larger site.
        See… You need someone smarter than I am on this tech issue

        • says

          It’s odd that my tech, who is in Phoenix, swears I come up on the first page. She even had a friend who has never been to my site search recently, and there I was, front and center on page 1.

          I have no idea when, how or why search algorithms put me all over the place.

          At the blogger conferences I attend, WordPress is still highly thought of. Tumblr is another social media platform used primarily by the younger set, which may or may not be my target audience. I mean pie makers come in all ages, shapes, sizes and both genders.

          At this point I’m on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and have this blog which is separate from my website. Add to this the reality that I am doing the same for my day job at Taylor Shellfish and that’s nine separate social media accounts that need to be fed everyday. Well, almost because as you know I don’t blog here as often or take pictures as much as I would like.

          I’m not the only one who expresses frustration over the amount of time it takes to do all this. Earlier this month at IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals ) Conference in SFO, it was a common theme and there were a number of sessions devoted to it. I learned lots, but mainly that there is no one solution.

          Maybe I’ll have it figured out by the time you come to my neck of the woods!

  12. annie says

    i think a little bit of everything. as life changes everyday, so do our moods, thoughts, our highs and our lows. when we share bits and pieces of past, present and future we become closer, more attached. it is the best way i know to connect with others.

    • says

      Annie- Registed: A little bit of everything. I think one of my favorite blog posts was writing about how you connected me with Greta. She will continue to be a figure in my posts. Right now, she’s on the front porch of Pie Cottage enjoying the Alpine-glow on the mountains. xo

  13. says

    Can I say all of the above? I love the personal stories – how you started, pie disasters are always fun and level the playing field for pie bakers! Those are usually fun stories! I really enjoy your posts in Pie Nation and will try to be a regular commenter here as well! Love pictures! The more the better!

    • says

      Great, Janice! Thank you so much. The personal stories are probably my favorite. I’m amazed at the path my life has taken and now I’m a pie maven! Thanks for checking in and see you in Pie Nation, too.

  14. Jill says

    I so rarely comment on anyone’s blog posts these days. Hmm…I do like photos to go with recipes–it makes it possible to pin to pinterest, too, which is useful these days. Photos of equipment or such isn’t really necessary, but can be nice. I’m especially interest in pie-specific things–disasters are funny, and can be a good warning off of some technique or ingredient, while the recipes are more obviously useful. I like the idea of ovens/equipment-related stuff, too. Occasional garden and house stuff is nice, too.

    • says

      I know about commenting but, it’s such a solitary pursuit otherwise. And, just knowing if I’m making the mark is good. I’ll need to brush up on my photo skills. Thanks for checking in, Jill.

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