I’m not really sure why, but I love to watch someone make a pie.
Friday night, we watched Waitress — the down-home romantic comedy starring Keri Russell. The movie is, well, very very cute, with a certain likeable-yet-sometimes-annoying country charm. The best part of the film, by far, is watching the main character make pies (thanks, Gretchen, for recommending it to me for this very reason). Not only in the way I usually like to watch pie-making (the crust being the best part) — but because she makes these crazy pies with quirky names. And I just kept wondering if they’d actually be good to eat (while also internally criticizing her process, at times… [audible sigh]… just SUSPEND DISBELIEF already!).
There was also the very different and fantastic film that we queued up a few months ago, called Sweetland. Beautifully filmed and scored, quiet, well-written, and overall a joy to watch. There is a rewind-worthy scene of two women sealing a friendship over the making and consuming of a pie. The sounds of this film are as important as the cinematography — I still remember the sound of forks scraping a tin pie plate (the movie is set during one of the World Wars) as the characters eat the entire pie by themselves. It was transcendent, and left me aching for a piece for myself.
Beyond the world of film, two people in my life have been inspirational pie-makers: my mother-in-law, Ruth, and my dear friend Cassia. Ruth makes a killer cherry pie (though not the limit of her pastry repertoire), and I will never forget one Christmas, watching her roll out two pie crusts with ease, and in about 2 minutes flat, all while talking on the phone. This was still at a time when I couldn’t roll out a crust without it tearing, and I watched in awe. Cassia has the distinction of making The Best Apple Pie I’ve Ever Tasted, and was also the first to introduce me to the incomparable Tomato Pie. She makes a pie with joy, and without stress, and loves to share it with friends.
About six years ago, we were living in Asheville, NC. I was teaching multimedia design at UNCA, and was trying to reconcile my new life as a wife with my existing life defined primarily by my creative work. I was working on some short videos of things domestic, and decided to include some footage of pie-making. Cassia and I went to our friend Sonja’s place, and spent a whole afternoon making pies. We each made one — Cass made apple, Sonja made blackberry, and I made Coconut Cream. We reconvened later that night, with our husbands, and consumed our creations. All three pies were delicious, but that apple pie… that was the one that sealed Cassia’s distinction.
Here are some video clips of that pie. There’s no sound, so don’t bother turning up the volume. It might not be the cinematic genius of Sweetland, but hopefully it’ll convey a tiny bit of the warmth and joy we shared that afternoon.