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Seeing Orange: As in Pumpkin Pie

Since I know you’ve all been wondering (yeah, right) about how the Pumpkin Pie Palooza turned out, I am finally posting the pictures from the event. Yes, I realize it’s been twelve days since my pie stand was open for that final day of the season. And yes, I realize I have posted nothing since then. I also realize time has marched on so far that the sunny Indian Summer days have given way to snow. Alas, since this blog is about pie and documenting my adventures based around “America’s quintessential comfort food” and the Pumpkin Pie Palooza is about as pie-centric of a story as you can get, I figure better late than never.

So there we were, Saturday, October 29, on an unseasonably warm and sunny day…  It was so warm, in fact, we did something Iowa weather doesn’t normally permit: we moved the pie stand outside into the side yard.

I baked all the pies myself this time — all 50 of them. My trusty pie assistant, Dakota McElderry, had returned to high school and given that he wasn’t available for the weekday prep, I found myself alone in the kitchen for the first time in many months. I had forgotten how much I like — even prefer — working solo. With my iPhone earbuds securely in place, my apron tied around my waist, and my rolling pin at the ready, I found my rhythm, the trance-like one that had soothed my broken heart during that first year after Marcus died. I had forgotten how moving quietly, methodically, peacefully around my workspace, dusting my table with flour, rolling out dough, whisking eggs by the bowlful — and not barking orders at Dakota or whoever else was helping with the pie stand — allowed me the space and the time for my thoughts to wander, my ideas to flow, my nerves to calm. It was luxurious. And it reminded me of how much I still love making pie. A lot of pie.

And then, after two and a half days of baking, the pies all made and set out for display, it was show time.

Shirley Stacey, Eldon’s ace mayor (who was THANKFULLY  just re-elected
 for another term!) was one of my first customers of the day.

Seeing it was a Halloween-based event, I took the time to create a makeshift costume. What better fitting attire for the Pitchfork Pie Stand than a…why yes, a costume that revolves around a pitchfork. I got the devil horns and matching tail for a dollar each at the Dollar Store. Can’t beat that!

The ever-helpful Dakota McElderry

Seeing it was a Saturday — a school-free day — Dakota was able to work at the pie stand. He borrowed my bottle of fake blood to fashion a little beard for himself — as his costume. He also crafted a “scary” prop out of a pie box and stuck it on the end of a pitchfork. Which I thought was very clever.

We did not, however, send home customer pies in blood-covered boxes.

My costume had some competition from a toddler. I couldn’t help but think of one of those celebrity magazines with the red carpet photos of actresses caught wearing the same dress (oh, the horror!), you know that photo-driven column, “Who Wore it Better.” In this case, I’m sure the little guy would have won. Especially with the devilish mustache, beard and eyebrows drawn on his face. Why didn’t I think of that?!

Costumes and decorations aside, it was still the pies — pumpkin, apple and apple crumble — that were the showcase of the day.

I had a surprise visit from a woman who goes to the same college I attended — The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. A long way from (her) home, Sarah and her mom (who hails from Iowa) stopped by for a slice of pie and brought me a gift — a vintage pie tin along with a needle-pointed logo of my alma mater, handcrafted by Sarah herself.

Last but not least, my BFF in Eldon, Patti, showed up late in the afternoon — also in costume. She was dressed up as….me! She had the outfit wired, down to the pigtails and overalls (which she had had to borrow for the occasion). I laughed so hard I nearly cried. Should I have been flattered? I mean, she finished off the outfit with a witch’s hat after all. Was she trying to tell me something?

Some of you asked if we had any leftover pie. Yes. A few pumpkin pies were left. And that made me very happy. Why? Because pumpkin pie freezes well, which means that for the past twelve days I’ve been able to have a rare stash on hand and indulge in my favorite food.

Really, I had such a good time with the Pumpkin Pie Palooza I’m wondering if I really can wait until Memorial Day to open up the pie stand again.

Pecan Pie Palooza anyone?