No More Mr. Nice Pie

No More Mr. Nice Pie
Drawing by Retsu Takahashi

Friday, March 7, 2014

So Many Holidays , So Little Time

The bakery calendar works in mysterious ways. This week is sans celebration, next week there are three battling for counter space. Holiday baked goods can be so needy- "Look at me! Pick me! I'm the limited edition!" I want to remind them that in a flash they will be old news, just like the February 15th Valentine and the Easter Monday Bunny. But since my livelihood is somewhat dependent on the holidays, I am forced to pay attention. So as not to overlook anyone next week, I'm starting a little early. The 14th is such a huge holiday it will need particular attention to detail. Queen Esther will have to cool her royal heels til the 15th which means I've decided to bump St. Patrick to the front of the line. I know for a fact there will be cookies to bedazzle for each holiday which should keep things calm amongst Pi/Pie, Esther and Patrick.

March fourteenth is a relatively new holiday. Yet again, in East coast vs. Pacific Northwest coast, we are woefully behind. According to my sibling, not only is Pi/Pie Day celebrated, it's really a Thing. It is celebrated at the Salmon Bay School as an All School Event with "math games and plenty of pie." Math Games? Honestly, why do you have to ruin a perfectly good holiday with Math Games, Barbara? I will say, however, that a school that takes Pie seriously is alright with me. My sources inform me that there is extensive merry-making and a vast assortment of pies for the pickin'- sounds much better than the aforementioned mathematics. Then again, they do things a little differently out there and who am I to point a disapproving all-purpose-floured-finger in their direction...

I'm a little fuzzy on my comparative religion, but I do know that Queen Esther played a prominent role in my childhood. There was an unwritten but very real understanding that one needed to dress in costume for the annual Purim party at Hebrew School. All of the girls arrived in some queenly attire, nothing too flashy, very little bling distracting from our homemade crowns. In later years, when it was necessary to outfit my children for Purim festivities I took a slightly different approach. Armed with scissors and a brown paper grocery bag, I cut out triangles and festooned the triangles with apricot/orange and poppyseed/black construction paper. I then attached the triangles to the children with some sort of non-toxic adhesive, I think it was double-face tape, and said, "There.You don't want to be a run of the mill Queen Esther or the Evil Haman. If anyone asks, simply tell them you're Hamantashen."  And I sent them on their way. 

St. Patrick's Day was never my thing as a child, and less so as an adult. There was one particular March 17th that was quite memorable. Before I left New York City to take that Game-of-the-States National tour gig, I was working at a large Art Deco venue, home of the Rockettes. A farewell send off coincided with St. Patrick's Day. Was there a place where the bar would not be awash with pitchers of green beer and the sound level would not be deafening? We ended up at the bar at the Rainbow Room, where we had the place completely to ourselves as we soaked up the only-in-New York views.

Many holidays to embrace next week and so little time. I will begin with a pie inspired by one of my Young Scholars who happens to be passing through the home nest for a few days. I asked him to offer me his thoughts on a suitable St. Patrick's Day pie flavor- and nothing with Guinness because I already use that in a Stout cake. He glanced up momentarily from the piano and provided three pearls of wisdom. Coffee. Bailey's. Jameson. Ithaca plus London plus Boston equals Genius.

The result of said conversation can be found on this week's recipe page. A whole week stretches out before you to make it which will free you up for celebrating on the 17th, if you are interested in that sort of thing. I will no doubt still be recovering from the 14th and the 15th. You will have no trouble recognizing me at the local watering hole just up the street from the bakery. I will be the one clutching the rolling pin, my Queen Esther crown slightly askew.

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