The edges of a plum pie.

The edges of a plum pie.

I’ve been thinking about edges recently. Garden border edges, kitchen counter edges, pie plate edges…life’s edges.

Over the course of my adult years, I have willingly cared for many. Family, pets and friends for the most part, as well as working full and sometimes more than full time.

In caring for others, there has been great satisfaction and meaning for me. I will always do for others; it’s part of who I am.

But one reaches a point where too much care without caring for oneself is no care at all.

I realized in doing for others, it is possible to lose oneself. OK, I know I’ve counseled others to “honor” their boundaries but I forgot, or maybe never truly learned, that I needed to honor mine first.

How does this relate to pie, you ask?

Well, it’s really pretty easy.

The edge of the dough will sometimes droop over the edge of the pie pan if we are not careful, and when it bakes, it will droop even more, melt & burn on the sides as well as underneath where it is not seen.

I thought the edge of my “plate” went on forever. I thought there would always be more room on it. But that wasn’t so.

Because I ignored boundaries that were screaming for me to step back, I got burned.

I didn’t know where my boundaries were because long ago I had pushed passed them and kept right on going. I couldn’t see just how burned I was.

I realized that I give this care to my pies when I am finishing constructing them. I know where their edges are.

  • After trimming together the bottom and top doughs, I give them a quick turn up, so that there is a little lip made of both.
  • I take my open palms and quickly and lightly pat all the way around so it gets the idea that it is a circle.
  • At the same time I’m doing this, I’m moving the dough slightly away from the edge of the pie plate. I like to see about a quarter of an inch of the pie pan edge.
  • I give it its final crimp or fancy flute, making sure that I can still see that band of plate encircling my pie.
  • I tidy up the edge by running a clean cloth around it to wipe away extra flour, fat and sugar.
  • Then I pop it in the oven knowing it will come out just fine.
  • If I push it right to the edge and then place it in a hot oven, it usually melts down and burns not only the edge but underneath where it may not be seen.

Thinking about how I handle something as simple as the edge of a pie, helped me to pay attention to the edges and boundaries of my own life. It took a lot of work to rein myself back and safely away from the precipice.

In finding and observing my boundaries now, I try to ask:

  • What works for me and what doesn’t?
  • Who do I feel happy and content around?
  • When do I have enough energy to help someone and when do I need to take care of myself?

As today is the first day of 2011, I encourage you to honor your boundaries.
Practice on something as simple and humble as pie.
Give your pie and yourself a little extra care and space…the rest will follow.

Be Happy.

Share Art of the Pie


  1. says

    I love your post, I think we all struggle with those edges every day. thank you for helping us see the need to stay within those edges. As I think about my pies and yours I rarely have such well formed edges — it isn’t as easy to do with gluten free crust. My time at the pie shop making wheat based crust showed me that. With GF pies, I make it look as good as I can figuring that once it is baked it won’t be as beautiful but I take comfort in the fact that it will taste good. As I think about your metaphor, maybe that is how I should approach each day too. Try to do my best though not perfect and know that it will work out in the end. Hope to see you soon!

  2. Kathi JPressley says

    I like the fluting, makes me think of waves and that edges often set but come and go like the tides; thanks for sharing your New Year; hope to see you before Spring. KJP

  3. omma says

    This introspection is an ideal way to start your new year, m’dear. Not too long ago you and I discussed a Sister Corita painting that reminds us to “Do not belittle yourself. BeBig yourself.” I will also add a favorite teaching of Buddha: “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Sometimes that is a difficult lesson to learn and we make several errors before we do. I know. I think I have finally achieved the wisdom of his insight. You already know that when you make a pie, the love and compassion that you put into it is what completes it. You can also create this in your life. I’m so glad that you are on this path. xoxo

  4. says

    Thanks for the delicious reminder Kate. And doesn’t it follow through that the crust taste best at the edge? many happy new days in this year. See you 11.20.2011!

  5. Sue Hopkins says

    I suppose we should say “appoint” rather than “annoint” as this is more philosophy than religion? And now, though it’s the dead of winter, you’ve got me thinking about my garden borders and the grass that has penetrated beyond them.

  6. Sue Hopkins says

    So what you’re saying is that we need a good edge to protect the filling of our lives. It works. I really like it. You are hereby annointed The Pie Philosopher. Happiest of New Years to you and may your filling always be just full enough while your boundaries stand in perfect harmony.

  7. says

    What a perfect analogy to explain what we can succumb to without realizing it, or worse — ignoring. I know. Excellent food for thought.

  8. says

    What a perfect analogy to explain what we can succumb to without realizing it, or worse — ignoring. I know. Excellent food for thought.

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