My mom used to make apple pie when I was a kid. She also did a nice pumpkin on Thanksgiving. She made them from scratch, no store bought pies, no purchased crusts for Louise. Just her hands and fresh ingredients. And me watching, eating the gooey sugar and cinnamon apple prep. Pie was a winter holiday dessert. Pie was not something we ate during the summer.
Then I began going to the Vineyard, where summer is all about pie. At least in our family. I know I thought it odd that first time we noticed that pies were everywhere on that island. But I quickly accepted the idea, and over the years we honed our taste buds by trying all the contenders. The winner, Eileen Blake’s Pies and Otherwise, wiped out the competition by a landslide. Selling a myriad of sweet confections out in front of a ranch house, we once doubted the existence of Eileen, having never seen her. There was usually a man selling the pies, out of a gazebo. We had hours of fun imagining Eileen and what she might look like, or if she was really a bunch of elves, or whether she used canned fruit, or real. But it didn’t matter in the end, because her pies were the after dinner nectar of the Gods. We turned on the oven, slid in the pies, doused them in vanilla ice cream and no matter how many people were gathered, one taste would silence the crowd. Our faces softened, as low toned moans escaped our lips. Eileen had us at Blueberry Peach. We were goners.
When Eileen upgraded her sign, my cohort, “the other Toni” and I asked if we could have it, dividing up the two-sided sign to give our husbands as birthday gifts (their birthdays were a few days apart and always happened during our vacation). Not a gift they could have imagined. We killed it in the surprise department. It still sits in our backyard patio, reminding us of the heavenly taste of Eileen all year long (who by the way, went to pie heaven a few years ago, causing us to wonder if the legendary pie of our dreams would no longer be part of our summer evenings and waistline expansion program).
I just found these pie recipes and considered making one, but really the truth is, unless it’s Eileen’s, or my mom’s, pie is for after the turkey, not after the lobster.