It’s a funny feeling to walk by a newsstand and see a picture of your own hands prominently displayed on the front page of a newspaper. I knew Portland Tribune was coming out with a front-page article about pie, because I had been interviewed and photographed for the story, but you never know how it’s going to be presented until…there it is.
It’s also a funny feeling to be the one being written about instead of the one doing the writing. Because I make my living as a writer, I’m used to seeing my name in print — as the writer’s byline — but more often now it seems to be the other way around. Instead of interviewing experts, people are quoting me as the expert.
As a result of the article I’ve already had emails coming in asking me for advice on pie recipes. Even just this morning when we were walking our dogs, Sylvia, my neighbor who had read the article, wanted to talk pie recipes. “My favorite is my grandmother’s Georgia peach pie. It tastes like it’s made with cream cheese, but it’s more of a custard. I’ll have to find the recipe for you. It’s more than 50 years old. I have an old cookbook from the 30’s, I’ll have to dig that out for you too. There’s a good pecan pie recipe in it.” We kept walking and she kept talking…and talking. “What’s the most interesting pecan pie you’ve made?” she asked. Then, Sylvia noticed that not only was I not responding with my usual enthusiasm, I was not really paying attention at all. (She notices every little nuance about me.) She stopped and said, “I forgot. You are a simple pie kind of person.”
“I get my pecan pie recipe off the Karo syrup bottle,” I replied. “I’m just not interested in recipes. It makes me wonder where I fit in this whole food scene where people are sooooo into talking about ingredients and exchanging recipes. I’m not a foodie. And I don’t consider myself a food blogger. I’m not an expert. I just love pie.”
“You like to mix everything together and throw it into the crust,” she agreed, then changed the subject. “What did you think of the article? Were you happy with it?”
“Absolutely! I loved how it covered the whole Portland pie scene. And I loved the front page close-up picture of the lattice crust. It’s the kind of picture that will make people want to make pie…”
“But?” Sylvia knows me well enough to know I had something more on my mind.
“But I was surprised by how it also made me really sad. All I wanted to do when I picked up the newspaper is show it to Marcus and share my excitement with him.” It’s a funny feeling to walk by a newsstand and see a picture of your own hands prominently displayed on the front page of a newspaper — and have it remind you that your husband is dead. Now it was my turn to change the subject, to practice what I’m preaching: Pie heals. “Sylvia, I haven’t made the rhubarb pie yet. But I promise, I’m going to make it today.”