Yesterday I returned from ten days on the the pieway to the Southeast. The pieway is what I affectionately call my work when I travel from Pie Cottage to share the craft of pie making in the Art of the Pie Workshops I teach. This time was a wonderful journey to the Southeast; Charleston, SC and Garner, NC. I have been to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area twice before; once when I met my birth father, and the second when Duncan and I were on a cross country trip in the 1987 VW Westfalia camper I used to own. I’ve have bought and owned three VW campers vans; a 1967, 1992, 1987. You may notice that the dates are not in chronological order, but that is the order I owned them. Each of them became part of three, (yes three) divorce settlements where the camper was awarded to a wuzband. [Note to self: Probably not a wise idea to ever buy another VW Camper…or get married. 😉 ]
Except for a brief excursion in the early 1970’s to go to music school in NYC, I have always lived on the West Coast and have not experienced too much of the rich history of the East Coast. On this Pie A La Road teaching trip, “home” was a beautiful 18th century home of a pie-sister who lives in downtown Charleston. When I mentioned to my friend and pie-brother, Ken Haedrich, that I was going to be in Charleston, he told me to watch out as I would be captured by its magic. After just one day, I emailed him and told him that he was right. His reply? “Told ya so!”
I led two wonderful workshops on successive days, had dinner at a tavern where George Washington dined, and even managed to sneak in one of the events at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. Some of my own (adoptive family) has history in Charleston, too. Jim McDermott, a cousin I never even knew about, lives in South Carolina, and got up at five in the morning to drive 3.5 hours to meet me for breakfast in Charleston. As close as we can figure, we may be fourth or fifth cousins. Over bowls of grits and eggs, we chatted and shared bits of our history, and of course photos of our children. When he drove me back to the house on Tradd Street, he shared that according to his research, in the 1700’s one of his/our relatives lived on Tradd as well. What a small world!
Next up was North Carolina for a Facebook Live Pie Summit event with Jenni Field (Pastrychefonline.com), and Nancie McDermott (nanciemcdermott.com). Though Nancie and I share the same last name, we have no idea if we are related. Maybe hidden somewhere in those 18th century records, there might be something. What a trip it would be if Nancie were related to Jim and me, too. What we are related through, is our love of pie making, and in that we truly are pie-sisters. The next night was a book event at Whisk Carolina. A day off was next and Jenni kindly drove me around to show me some of the area around Raleigh. Then came the day to fly home to Washington but one more special moment was added before I boarded the plane, when Jenni and I were invited to have lunch at the beautiful home of Sandra Gutierrez (sandraskitchenstudio.com).
Now, I’m back at Pie Cottage. It sure was great to sleep in my own bed, with Gretapie and Mr Fez the Cat closeby. I’m thinking of all the wonderful people I met on this journey, and how lucky I am to write, teach, and travel out on the pieway. Now I’m headed out to the garden, to start the preparations for spring planting, but before I do, here are a few pictures from my journey that I would love to share with you.