I found out two days late, that January 23rd was National Pie Day. Who knew? But that bit of information segues right into a subject I want to visit. Well, two subjects—pies and mothers. Make that four subjects. Add books and movies.
Last Sunday Parade Magazine included with our newspaper had an article about an upcoming movie called Labor Day. Both the picture (see below) and the subject and title of the article (Life of Pie) caught my attention. Of course, it’s about pie. Many years ago Joyce Maynard, author of the book of the same name, had spent the summer with her mother who was dying of cancer baking a pie nearly every day, while her mother’s friends visited. She’d rolled out the crust on wax paper, just as she’d learned from her mother. That summer inspired her to teach many others how to make pie. And baking pies inspired her to include a pie-making scene in her latest novel, Labor Day.
Pie and a pie-baking mother struck a cord with me. My mother loved to bake. We always had dessert of some sort, always homemade, usually cake or pie more often than cookies. We lived on a farm, so we had our own fruit and berries. I especially remember apple pies. After we children left home, my mother continued to bake pies. Since she had become diabetic, she’d bake a small sugar-free one for herself and another for my dad. Often she’d bake two and give one away. After my father died, Mom still baked. She couldn’t eat all the pies, so she gave them away. A neighbor stopped by? Have a pie. Any family activity? Bring two pies. A doctor appointment? Take a pie for the entire staff to share.
Although I don’t make many pies myself, I learned from my mother. She used a board instead of wax paper to roll out the dough. I use a cloth for my rolling surface. The author uses wax paper. But we all did one thing the same—use the absolute minimum of cold water when mixing the dough. Those memories inspire me to see the movie, and definitely to read the book, Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard. (In fact, due to the marvels of the internet and Kindle, I have it already, when a week ago I didn’t even know the book existed.)
The illustration with the article shows the author demonstrating her pie expertise to the movie’s stars, Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet. Josh plays an escaped convict who hides out in Kate’s house. He makes the pie in the movie. (Kate came to the demonstration as she wanted to learn how to bake pies too.) While they baked and ate three pies, author Joyce Maynard found a pie connection with actor Josh. His mother, who had died young, had also been a baker. I too found a connection with both of them—a mother who baked pies.
On Amazon’s page for Labor Day, I learned more about the book. It is told from the thirteen-year-old son’s point of view. More information about Joyce Maynard’s book can be found here. You can read the entire Parade article here, see a clearer picture, and even watch a video of Joyce Maynard making an apple pie. Incidently, the movie will open January 31. And, for a local humor column on the subject, click on National Pie Day.