Being easy ain’t easy

Tuesday, hello!

I know we’re having a bit of a resurgence of summer (is there a meteorological term for “Indian Summer?” because we don’t say that anymore, do we?), so you may be surprised to hear this: It’s fall! Best time for pie! Or at least, tied for first, with summer and spring and winter.

There’s never a bad time for pie, is there?

This morning, my attention was drawn to the article in NY Times Magazine, wherein Mark Bittman suggests that we shouldn’t bother making pie. Because he doesn’t like crust.

Pause with me for a moment, will you? There are plenty of foods of which I am not a fan, primarily red enchiladas and soggy bitter green bell peppers cooked into everything. And papaya. Actually, that may be the whole list. There is one food that I always forget that I don’t like until it’s already coming from the restaurant kitchen. (oh well)

But I’m not going to run out and tell you not to put peppers in your soup, or to stop feeding your family red enchiladas (seriously, though: green is the way to go). And that is the difference between me and Mark Bittman.

I think perhaps the most glaringly annoying part of this whole “don’t bother with pie” thing is how he suggests that making pie is just “baking fruit in a crust.”


Sure, you can do that, but certainly he knows better than to imagine that that’s all there is to making pie? Why all the hate, Bittman?

On the other hand, many of the dishes he suggests as alternatives look to me like they’re calling out for a little structure and crunch, don’t you think? Clafoutis is a fine dish that can stand on its own, but those gratins? The poor things look like they’re naked. Also, cornstarch, sad.

I say DO bother with making pie. It has endured for a reason. Despite the cliche, there are plenty of easier ways to bring fruit to the dessert table, but few of them perform the same kind of alchemic magic that a really good crust and a really good fruit do. It’s worth doing.

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