This is the 2nd in a series of Pie Camp stories.
Passing on a Craft
My friend Rebekah came to the very first pie workshop I ever taught. It was super informal. I had been making pies for quite awhile; playing around with ratios, ingredients, whether to put vodka in a crust or not, varieties of apples, and a myriad of other things. Sharing what I had learned sounded like a great idea. So, I set a date, gathered a few pie tools, some yard sale pie pans, and the basics needed to make an apple pie.
That day started an entire new path that I guess I had been inching along towards without knowing it. A few years later, Rebekah came to another workshop…this time with her eldest child, and a babe in arms, too.
Here are her words about passing on the craft.
My Mother Always Made the Pies
My mother always made the pies: Pumpkin and chocolate-pecan for Thanksgiving, a berry pie for my dad’s 40th birthday made with raspberries I picked from our front-yard patch. She pricked out an “M” in the crust for decoration– it stood for my father’s name, “Morton,” but to my dazzled 10-year-old eyes it may as well have meant “MOM!”
Eventually I learned to can preserves and bake bread and master other kitchen tasks that child would have found as magically inconceivable as adulthood itself. Somehow, I never tried making pie. My mother flew out every year for Thanksgiving anyway.
When Kate invited me into her kitchen one year with a suggestion to try out apple pie, I was initially focused on the apple part of the invitation, captivated by heirloom varieties like Belle de Boskoop and Northern Spy. That day, though, the “perfect pie crust” I’d admired turned into the main attraction. Torn from my usual kitchen patterns, the tactile roll of Kate’s pin against the crust caught on some rough edge of my brain. The moment when the dough responded and Kate said “You’ve got it!” lit up the same brain-body pathway as pedaling those first few wild feet without training wheels in our neighbor’s driveway, or the notes of a Bach fugue finally falling into place at the piano.
My oldest child, who took Kate’s class with me, now thinks it is normal for everyone to know how to make pies: Grandparents, parents, daughters and sons.
There is some magic in that, too.
What about you? How did you learn?