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I’m for Pies–a Community Food System Practice with 12 Slices of Pieku’s

This is another pie-musing and story-telling with bits re-arranged into a newer version…and I’d like to begin it like this (again):

“….The thing about a pie crust is the way it feels. Pie crust, ingredients combined with human hands, becomes a living thing. And, like any other living thing and with the human who’s hands mix, shape and roll it out; it breathes. If there is no breath, there is no life or goodness going into that pie. And then, what is the point?

Pie therapy. A way to bring life, as I know it, back into balance. Much needed, as always, in this present moment. All lists of this and that are inconsequential. Conversations and tellings cease. A gathering of ingredients, an open-space with elbow room. Counter tops at the proper height. Pie as art, Pie as Therapy, and in the making….”

It’s the beginning of winter again, on January 23rd, 2012 and I’m feeling I’m in the right place for pie-making, and in that open place for a dose of Pie Therapy. My urge to act on this task, partially inspired by the basic need to eat, and also upon viewing the wonderful expanse of whiteness out my tree-house-like apartment window.  A great day to dedicate a portion of my energies to baking of a pie or two and writing a few Pieku’s…which would be Haiku’s in honor of and all about pies.

Here’s a few to kick-start my practice:

Pieku #1  i use real lard/proud to reveal this blessing/animal fat shared
Pieku #2  between two crusts love/frigid winter chill outdoors/you me and apples
Pieku #3  you’ve gifted me/a split decision pie tin/two pies side by side

Pie-making and pie-poetry seem to be a good companion, as I continue mingling in the local, food-system, garden-farming community and prepping for my graphic recording services at the upcoming Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference.

What does making/baking pie and Pieku’s have to do with my graphic recording work? Generally my listening/thinking/organizing/drawing recording ends up in a pie-shape.  That’s a beginning explanation, I suppose.  Plus, this is a week when I’ve been delving deeper into my permaculture studies—considering the distinction between looking and seeing—the continued fine art of observation.  Patterns in space—roundness—circle shapes—spheres are the pattern of great resilience, strength and stability. Most of the pre-conference interviews I’ve had with the presenters I’ll be accompanying speak to understanding/re-learning/re-designing co-operative relationships, through whole-system design, while being guided by principles of ecology. That’s pretty much what I do when I make and bake a pie.

Pieku #4 I’m a pie farmer/with crops of fruit, grain and fat/grow share make bake feed
Pieku #5 social well being/guided gentle rolling pin/over and over
Pieku #6 little red hen asks/who will help me bake a pie/before the sky falls

In my world everything could likely evolve, revolve and be associated with the lovely round form of butter, oil or lard crusted creations.  Pies are a simple whole-system…I’m conjuring up a plan for a pie-baking tutorial, a sort of pie-making-baking-taking-bartering jubilee…. if as, this pie spells out, we can occu-pie our creative brains and apply systems thinking–which is a round perspective and design, I believe— we might be able to continue nibbling, eating feasting…..this is serious bizness, when it comes to our food systems—and could be studied/considered best through pie therapy.

Perhaps the other honest sharing is that my pies are created for artistic delight, well-being, and, for love. I’ve said this before that I believe sharing is essential. Eating a pie alone is like trying to take over the world. Pies are not for selfish eaters. I pity the fools who have mocked and perverted pies in Hollywood movies. Like pie therapy, there is also pie karma.  I myself schedule one or two “Pie Socials” each year for a larger, community gathering and pie-healing through my O’k CSA bizness.


Pieku #7 mix dirt with water/prep for days to come/worms eat pie too
Pieku #8  how to analyze/is it regenerative/you know it depends
Pieku #9  blessed brave greens froze/savory pie ingredients/veggie pot for sup

Pies happen often, especially when I’m trying to figure something out.  The pies I bake are ceremonial. There is a real and unspoken need for them. My pies have taught me their purpose; to be shared and eaten with intention and reverent thanks. A crust carefully concocted with a filling inspired; binds those sitting round it. Around it and within it, as it were. Relatively speaking, a small farm conference could be functioning as the same or similar.

Pieku #10  speaking of middle/how much fruit do we put there/where our edges meet
Pieku #11  how-to live on pie/reinforcing feedback loop/don’t go overboard

Pieku #12  pie is a method/to accompany great change/that is where we are

Sometimes, I also share the recipe, when the traditional one I’ve followed in my falling apart Joy of Cooking cookbook, has been properly altered and I can call it my own, expecting someone will soon alter mine. The filling always depends on the goods you have, and what is calling out to your pie-making sensibilities.

Mi amiga Olga asked for my apple pie recipe so here it is:

Penny’s Pretty Good and O’k Apple Pie
4 cups fresh apples, sliced
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
4 Tablespoons flour
1/2 Tablespoon orange juice
1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon, or more, of Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine above ingredients in a big mixing bowl, and llet sit for 15 minutes.

Mix up crust:
3 cups flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup butter, lard, or oil properly chilled
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup very cold water

Once the crust ingredients are mixed, maybe a little crumbly still, but mostly wet and softly-breathing…put the pie crust bowl into the refridge to chill for 10 minutes more. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roll cold crust, fill with your lovely filling, stack it HIGH–fill it up good, and then llay at least 6 chunks of butter on top of filling, roll out top crust, cut your signature design on the top, sprinkle with a bit of sugar and put it in the oven.

Bake ten minutes at 425, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Usually another 30 minutes check to see if the filling is bubbling. Let it bubble out a few more minutes, before removing it from the oven.