"Give a Piece a Chance." — Books. Blog. Pie Classes. And a Pinch of Activism.

My Small-But-Meaningful (and Wrinkled) Apron Collection

Every apron has a story.

From Left to Right:

1) a Christmas present from my friend Carolyn, who I’ve known since junior high. This one is my favorite for its rich red color and its small ruffle. But it wrinkles far more than the others and I won’t wear it unless it’s ironed. And I iron about twice a year.

2) a “Because You Like Pie Too” present from Diane Mapes, a writer friend in Seattle. A few months ago, when I was working on a project in Seattle, I invited her to my apartment for a glass of wine. She showed up with a gift bag. “It’s nothing big,” she insisted. Nothing big? This was HUGE! Her gift bag contained this vintage apron and a stack of her mother’s pie recipes.

3) The Most Hideous Apron Award Goes To… This is from a Portland thrift store and always a favorite at my pie parties. I start off a party with a drawing to see who gets to wear this special little calico smock. The funny thing is, everyone else seems to like it. Very Laura Ingalls Wilder.

4) a hand-me-down from my friend Alayne. She was moving to London and getting rid of just about everything. She thoughtfully saved any pie-related accessories for me. I wear this one most often because it’s like wearing a towel; I wipe my hands on it constantly. (I don’t do so well with the daintier styles or less-hearty fabrics.) And not that it matters to me, but…the blue and white checks match my vinyl easy-wipe table clothes. Bonus points for that fact that whenever I wear it I am reminded of such a dear and generous friend.

5) a gift from my mother for helping prepare Thanksgiving dinners, given to me when my Grandma Ida was still alive. My mom got my grandma and my sister matching ones so we could be One Big Cooking Unit. These were the years I always found a way to “disappear” when it was time to wash the dishes. And my mother reminds me of this small fact every Thanksgiving to this day. I can’t even look at this apron without having powerful memories of family gatherings, cold Iowa autumn nights, and fights with my three brothers over who got the bigger piece of pumpkin pie.

6) the apron my husband chose to wear from my thriftstore collection the time he baked his very first pie. How could we be married five years and only three months ago he learned how to make pie? Oh, I know. It’s because I’m the one who always makes the pies. However, his pie — apple, heavy on the cinnamon — turned out perfectly! I like to think it’s because I’m a good teacher, but maybe it’s just that he’s been hiding his talents. (Like when, during Year Two of our marriage, I was happily relieved of cooking when he brought home a grill.)