I have possibly the worst sweet tooth issue among my family, friends and colleagues. I can just pop everything sweet, sinful and delicious into my mouth guilt-free. The guilt only starts to seep through much, much later when I stand naked in front of the mirror and see folds of skin holding on to the fat I myself brought upon.
One of those sweet delights I love is pie! Be it sweet, fruity pie or something savoury with lots of meat and vegetables inside, I just love pies! Even the ones from McDonald’s are just irresistibly tasty! The new Spinach Pie is awesome too! I hope, they’re gonna be around for a while.
Pies are just heavenly so I understand the kind of comfort they bring at each mouthful bite. You see, Malaysians are not so high on pies like they are with cookies and cake. That’s why you see many people taking baking classes specializing in cookies, cakes and more recently, macaroons.
When I was on the exchange programme in Germany is 2002/2003, I lived with a family of bakers, the Fesenbeck. My host dad, Horst whom I called ‘Papa’ was possibly the best baker in all of Saarland, the smallest federal state in Germany, but my fondest, most beautiful memories were made there.
My host mum, Mama Karin Fesenbeck was the most loving stranger I’ve ever met. Although we were not at all related, by hosting me, she has proven that you can love almost as much as you would to your own blood.
They loved baking pies for the community there. In fact, many people loved their bread too! I learned to eat funny German bread like the Schwarzbrot and many other brot (bread), which were as hard as rock but once you get used to them, you’ll love them more than your usual Gardenia or High Five.
Every Friday the Fesenbecks would organize a high tea and invite their close friends and neighbours where they would enjoy food, usually pie and coffee. I’d help out with serving food and doing the dishes in the kitchen.
It was fun because I learned German faster that way. Located so close to France, just about 70 km if my mind serves me correctly (too lazy to Google), people are more motivated to learn French.
One day, Mama Karin gave me a slice of rhubarb pie. It was my first because I never knew how rhubarb looked like, even. It was sweet and delicious and I believe, I have fallen in love right that moment.
My host family, the Fesenbecks are very good bakers. They would wake up very early in the morning and start baking. I packed freshly baked pastries and bread to school every day. To me, it was a luxury because everything was right downstairs where I used to live, The Fesenbeck House, Robert-Koch-Strasse 39, 66839, Schmelz, Germany.
I spent the entire summer helping them to bake pies and bread. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten most of the recipes. I don’t think I can find the exact same ingredients in Malaysia, but I’m thinking of learning to bake pies now.
I believe, every dessert has its own strength in bringing comfort and pleasure to anyone who consumes it. Some people like cookies because of the crunchy bites and even better, when the cookies have tonnes of chocolate chips on them! Some prefer cake because it glides smoothly in the mouth and it comes with all sorts of flavours, topping and finishing. And yes, macaroons are crispy on the outside but very soft on the inside, they’re made in small size that you can continuously pop into your mouth at will.
Pie is different. ‘Pie is home, people always come home’. That was taken from Pushing Daisies, one of the best TV series ever produced. Ned, the Pie Maker bakes pie using rotten fruits because he can bring back the dead with one touch. Second touch, die again, forever, as the narrator repeatedly says.
Ned bakes pies, a trade he learned from his mother. He started baking pie in school whenever he missed his mother and ended up opening the Pie Hole diner.
Well, the TV series is about Ned helping Private Investigator Emerson Cod to solve murders happening around town with his magical touch. Ned also brought his childhood sweetheart, Chuck back to life but could never touch her again at the risk of causing her death, permanently this time.
Then, there’s a movie ‘The Waitress’ starring Kerri Russell and Nathan Fillion, about a small town married waitress, Jenna who is pregnant with her abusive husband’s child. She works at a pie diner and bakes pies on a daily basis. She also bakes pie that reflects her mood like ‘I Hate My Husband’ pie, to which her friend, Dawn (Adrienne Shelly who also wrote and directed the movie) responded by saying, “You can’t put that on the menu”.
She seeks solace in baking pies and yes, having an affair with her physician, Dr. Pomatter who is also married.
I just love this quote in the movie, when Dr. Pomatter came to her house after her first attempt to end their affair. He held her in his arms and she wrote about the feeling in her baby journal.
“Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that’s all they do. They don’t pull away. They don’t look at your face. They don’t try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold you tight, without an ounce of selfishness to it”
So, these two shows tell me that pie is love. In Pushing Daisies, Ned bakes pies. Emerson Cod always orders pies. Chuck adds Gruyere cheese on the crust. Olive Snook helps to deliver pies to Chuck’s aunts.
While in The Waitress, baking pies are a way for Jenna to express herself. There are about 18 different pies featured or mentioned throughout the movie. ‘Falling In Love Chocolate Mousse Pie’ and ‘Strawberry Chocolate Oasis Pie’ sound wonderful, right?
So, what would my pie be?
How about ‘The Miss Paris Diaries Pie’? Considering the things that are happening in my life, it will be a mixture of everything sweet, sour and spicy with a big dollop of whipped cream on top!
Just the way I love it!