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Pie is the New Cupcake

Strawn's Eat Shop, Shreveport, LA

The 2011 foodie mantra is clear: pie is the new cupcake. As a cupcake purveyor I’m keenly aware of the turning tide in taste. Though I’m not too concerned. I’m pretty confident that the cupcake will stay around for a while, allowing folks bite-sized, instant gratification ensconced in a disposable wrapper.

But even as someone deep in camp cupcake, I’ve had my eye on the pie for several years now. It started in San Francisco back in 2008. I spent the year there—mostly in my office, but the few chances I had that year to get out from behind my desk, I used to discover the amazing food the city has to offer. And Mission Pies was one of the places I made a point to visit. Yes the pie was good, very good. But there was something lacking.

In my fantasy world pie is served at a retro, formica counter with a cheap ceramic mug of coffee (or tea) as an accompaniment. Yes, I want to eat great tasting, gourmet pie, not 3-day-old, from-a-freezer pie. But I also want that lethargic, small-town diner atmosphere in which to eat my pie.

So when I quit my job and took 6 weeks to drive across the country, I stopped for pie—often. The South knows pie. I’m sorry Brooklyn, NYC, San Francisco et al., but no matter how good your fancy pies taste, you will likely never understand that a slice of pie requires time to allow us eaters to sit at a table, bench, stool, whatever, but just sit and slowly enjoy one forkful at a time. No checking Blackberry’s or iPhones while eating pie either.

The result of my trip equaled much more than simply tasting a lot of pie. As I drove around the country, often through very small tows, I talked to people, relaxed, read the newspaper in whatever town I was visiting and slowly enjoyed my slice of pie at the local restaurant/diner/lunch counter.

My hope is that the pie fad is bigger than just pie. Perhaps we’ll all go back to taking a little time to enjoy what we eat. And maybe we’ll even wear fancy hats again while eating our delicious slice of pie. But perhaps this is more than our culture can absorb.

I’ll take a slice of coconut custard pie with whipped cream on top.

Hello again

It’s been a while. 2010 came and went with almost no updates.  I’ve started a business, changed my hair a few times and had a few ups and downs. But now it’s time to get back  to the blog and talk about all things food.  FYI,  I’ve been eating a lot of beets.

Recipe Jumble

Found these handwritten recipes while going through one of the cookbooks I picked up in Memphis. Ingredient lists, but no real instructions or product name.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 Kitchen spoon of Karo
Butter (size of egg)
Pinch salt
Milk-enough to dissolve ( 1 cup or a little more)

Cook as you do fudge

Recipe 2

This second one is cleary a cake, guessing it’s a one bowl mixing method since there are very few wet ingredients.

Jamon Iberico

I made one last trip to Bi Rite Market in the Mission and picked up some candy and a few slices of Jamon Iberico. For those who have not tasted, it’s as if a rich porky slice of Serrano ham mated with a luscious, creamy, yet slighty aged cheese.  The deep red ham, with a high fat content, melts in your mouth. The tongue first tastes a slightly salty pork flavor, the flavor then morphs into that of a cow’s milk aged cheese, and finishes off with a slight peppery taste in the back of the mouth. At $100/pound I only buy 2 or 3 slices at a time. But it’s a delicious treat if you can find it.

A Taste of Irish Cheese

A while back at the Fancy Food Show I stopped by the Kerrygold booth and tasted one of the new varieties–Dubliner with Irish Stout. If a cheese can represent a season, this one represents fall. It has a nutty, full-bodied flavor, that finishes with a taste that’s reminiscent of classic Irish stew. The flavor that the stout adds is a complex combo of malt and yeast.

I can imagine nibling on a bite of this with some crusty bread on a cold, fall night. Dubliner with Irish Stout is available nationally at Whole Foods, and can be found at the below regional locations:
New England – Shaws
The Carolinas – Earthfare
Pacific Northwest – Haggen
Midwest – Jewel
Southern California – Gelson’s, Ralph’s

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