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WHY Pie? Part One,

Because I have a long and memorable relationship with the making and baking and eating of pie. Here’s part of my story….

My first pie was made when I was about 13 years old, for the Clinton County 4-H Fair. I was a scrawny little kid that liked to draw and make things, and in the summer I enrolled in Baking with Mrs. Baker (no kidding) as my leader in our Victor Twp. 4-H Club.

I wanted my fair entry to be special, artistic and get a blue ribbon, and so, I decided to make a Pecan Pie. It was my grandmother’s recipe, that I intended to improve upon.

Bless her heart for inspiring me to become a baker, but my Grandma Lois Laverne Crider was lousy at what she taught. My mother would cringe when Grandma showed up at our house with pies or cookies or candy or cakes….Her main problem was adding TOO much sugar. Even as a sugar-loving kid I’d have to agree. Most of Grandma Crider’s baked goods made me cringe too, BUT…….what my Grandma did teach me was to bring a fearlessness and fierceness into the kitchen when I began my baking work. Even though her baked goods sucked, she had an attitude that was impressive.

The way she taught me how to make pie crust, was to just stick your hand in the flour pot and grab out two or three handfuls of flour and throw it into the mixing bowl. She wasn’t just tossing it, or dropping it in the bowl—she was slamming it down into the bowl with a strong “YEAH, that’s right” once it hit the spot. The first time I saw her do this, my jaw dropped and I grabbed the edge of the counter to steady myself. Not in a million years would my mom put her hands in the flour pot.

My grandma stood there in her apron, all white haired and blue-eyed, and from then on, to me she was like a big-time Baking Wrestler She-ro. Then she’d look at me and smile a teeny bit on one side of her mouth, and say nothing. But it was almost like she was on the verge of snarling and telling me and everyone in our family “Who cares if my pies suck? Have you got the guts to NOT use a measuring cup?”

So here I am, thank you very much Grandma Crider, finding my powerful self and courage everytime I bake a pie!