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

Pie Baker’s Block

I am experiencing an unexpected bout of pie baker’s block. Mimi needed pies for her shop this past weekend and – in spite of her letting me do six loads of laundry at her hotel last week, per our laundry-for-pie barter arrangement – I have not held up my end of the deal. I haven’t made a pie in two weeks now – unless you count that disastrous dough I rolled last week, which my friend Angela said looked like a map of the world. “I can even make out the African and European continents,” she commented. Well, the world map ended up in the garbage can, where it joined the dead spider.

My lack of pie productivity cannot be blamed on burn out — I used to bake at least 50 pies a week when I worked in Malibu and I never got tired of it. It cannot be blamed on the scorching desert heat – temps dropped to a chilly 80 degrees this weekend. And I cannot use my usual excuse – lack of ingredients — as I currently have an overstock of Granny Smith apples taking up space in my bedroom, the only air-conditioned room in the house, so as to preserve the precious fruit.

Nor do I consider my pie baking lapse to be a symptom of the “Terlingua Procrastination Syndrome” that Mimi has warned me about. If I was procrastinating then I would have also put off organizing my 2008 tax receipts (thank god for that extension) and paying that delinquent parking ticket from LA, both tasks of which I (finally!) accomplished today.

I suppose my baker’s block could have something to do with matters of the heart. It’s either a lingering curse from baking that pecan pie for the married man, or perhaps it has more to do with the fact that my husband and I are filing for divorce this week. (There, I said it. Now everyone knows.)

Times like these would certainly call for pie therapy. “Bake and you will feel better,” has always been my mantra. It’s true, it works. Even my soon-to-be-ex-husband told me a few days ago, “One thing you’re really good at is pulling yourself out of a bad mood.” He should know, as I made a LOT of pies during our six years of marriage. (I’m not blaming, I’m just saying…) And yet, in spite of knowing how much better I’ll feel once I start peeling a few apples, I cannot drag myself off the couch and into the kitchen.

Further contemplation makes me realize it’s time — in the spirit of change — to make room for something new… Something chocolate.

And that’s how inspiration returns at last. “I know what to do,” I tell my friend Nan. “Apples be damned. I’m going to bake brownies.”