This weekend my housemates Nick and Andy set out to make some pies. Eager to test the boundaries of the possible, Nick and Andy decided that it would be terrific and hilarious to give out pies the way one gives out holiday cards. Last weekend they made three pies, one each of three different recipes. Blind taste tests declared a no-bake pumpkin the winner.
So mid-week the intrepid duo visited their favorite restaurant supply store and returned with (approximately):
- 82 pounds pumpkin puree
- 22 dozen eggs
- 50 pounds sugar
- 6 gallons heavy cream
- 25 pounds graham cracker crumble
- 10 pounds butter
- 1 gallon secret ingredient
- 1 pinch of salt
- 200 pie tins
- 200 pie boxes
Sunday morning, Andy ran the Philadelphia Marathon. Sunday afternoon, beginning around 1pm, Andy and Nick began making pies. With the help of nine housemates and family members, our house became Strategic Pie Command. Amidst the telegraph wires connecting us to the Front, I took some crappy photos with my phone.
Under Andy’s direction, we specialized by role. There were box folders, egg white separators, pie crust kneaders, pie crust mashers, pie filling cooks, pie fillers, and pie shipping and storage specialists. Also a DJ, a pho-orderer-and-picker-upper, sappers, radar technicians, two human shields (volunteer), and several supportive bystanders.
Were we scared? You bet we were scared. But the larger question that propelled us, that haunted our dreams and threw us once more to our task with grim purpose, was what would happen if we didn’t make all these pies? That was too terrible to contemplate, and so we hoisted each other up with graham cracker-encrusted hands and soldiered on once more into the breach (kitchen).
Andy estimated that we enlisted over $2 million dollars-worth of higher education in the creation of these pies. We were the finest generation pulled into service at the time of greatest (pie) need.
As Churchill once said:
“When I look round to see how we can win the war I see that there is only one sure path. We have no Continental army which can defeat the enemy military power–the blockade is broken and Hitler has Asia and probably Africa to draw from. Should he be repulsed here or not try invasion, he will recoil eastward, and we will have nothing to stop him. But there is one thing that will bring him back and bring him down, and that is an absolutely devastating, exterminating attack by two hundred pumpkin no-bake pies from this country upon the Nazi homeland.”
And also Churchill:
“We shall not flag or fail. We shall make pies in France, we shall make pies on the seas and oceans, we shall make pies with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our kitchens, whatever the cost may be, we shall make pies on the beaches, we shall make pies on the landing grounds, we shall make pies in the fields and in the streets, we shall make pies in the hills. We shall never surrender.”
We feared the weight of our pie arsenal, the pies of democracy as they were known in the dailies, might buckle the specialized Pie Holding Tables in the pie bunker. But in the end, our fears were unwarranted, and 182 pies lay cooling in the crisp, we-definitely-hope-it’s-at-least-40-degrees-outside November air.
Tomorrow would see new trials, new unfathomable risks. But we won the day. We made 182 pumpkin pies in about nine hours. On Monday Nick and Andy would begin the arduous but joyful strategic deployment of all 182 pies to friends, tenants, business associates, allies and liberated peoples. And then we would rest.
Let me know if you want a pie.