Yesterday was Pi Day, and if I knew about it, living in a cave as I do, there's no excuse for any of you not to know, too - you know, pi, the math term for 3.14 and so on. I learned by chance that there's a... town is stretching the term, in New Mexico that is coincidentally called Pie Town. They close for the winter and open again every year on March 14 so yesterday was the big day.
Legend has it that a man by the name of Ed Jones was one of the Dust Bowl émigrés who landed in the area of the 8000 foot Continental Divide that is now Pie Town. He walked seven miles from his homestead to a crossroads every day to sell pies. Why pies and not axles, or beans? Why did he not make his homestead closer than seven miles? If he walked, how did he transport his pies? Maybe that's why it's a legend.
So my friend and I drove over yesterday to partake of some fresh pie, plus we were looking for a mini roadtrip. It was about 180 miles, not bad when you think of 75 mph speed limits on the interstate, but lots longer, waaaay longer, on secondary roads. We got there in time for lunch and to see three whole pies walking out the door and not much else on the sideboard where they're showcased. Lucky for us, we were told two more were coming out of the oven shortly, an apple-cranberry crumble, and a chocolate chess with chili and pine nuts. Chocolate for me, apple for my friend.
When we owned our spectacular failure of a bakery, one of my goals was to move from what I called "bucket pies," those whose fillings came premade in a bucket, to all-scratch pies. If I remember correctly, we charged $17 for a bucket pie and $23 for a scratch pie, but that was only for fruit pies. Our pumpkin, coconut cream (killer recipe), chocolate cream, French silk, etc. pies, all scratch, too, were not that much. Pecan pies, yes, because I loaded those crusts with pecans, about three times what the recipe called for. We were not a failure because of quality and quantity, that's for sure. But back to the pies. We used Pyrex deep dish pie plates and they held a lot of pie - fruit pies had four pounds!! of filling. I made the crusts from scratch and the crusts of all all sweet pies were brushed with egg and sprinkled with coarse sugar before going into the oven. I wove lattice tops - no cheater stencil-cut tops that pretend to be lattice. We made beautiful, wonderful pies, but to even think we could have gotten away with $27.25 for a pie would have been sadly laughable. That's what the Pie-O-Neer Restaurant charges and they were walking out the door in droves. They could not keep up with the demand. Our samples were good, but not what I'd say was worth their price. I wish I knew their secret for getting top dollar for their product.
This was the clue we needed to stop.
The one operational building in Pie Town that I could see.
However, if you're in the market for a fixer, they got 'em.
2. This one comes with cross ventilation.
Even though the pies were something of a disappointment, when I can spot some old Detroit steel, it's a good day. According to some website I looked at, this is a 1961 model of the Chevy Impala. Kind of a dull-looking style here, but
modified fins on the rear end
On the other side of the restaurant was this maybe 1949 Chevy.
Could be sweet with some money and elbow grease invested.
The only part of this car was the bullet-ridden door. The first thought in my head was Bonnie and Clyde.
Pie Town also has a windmill museum, courtesy of the local well-driller.
I've seen several small-town museums and it's interesting that what we might think is silly or even ridiculous has real meaning to the person who curated the exhibits. Just because this is windmills and other places have tractors or items of local history doesn't mean their value is intrinsically less than, say, the collection of the Met. It's hard for me to fathom, but there are plenty of people who are bored to tears by what I call art. Define "value." I think it's like beauty - in the eye of the beholder.
Thought of the day:
Cars are like rolling diaries, metal and paint and plastic tableaux of the last ten years of their drivers' lives... every dent, every drooping slice of chrome has a story behind it. (Jim Atkinson - Texas Monthly, "Heaven on Wheels," September 1984)