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My Two Cents On Pie

When it comes to pie, blueberry is my favorite.

You know, it really feels good to get that off my chest. It was only in the past week that I finally admitted it, and now it feels like a weight has been lifted.

I announced it publicly, during a family discussion of pie, a topic we discovered can be – surprisingly -- both interesting and polarizing. I’m not exactly sure how the topic bubbled up, but it did and before I knew it, I’d blurted out one of my deepest, longest-running secrets.

While those around me didn’t say what they thought my favorite pie would be, they were – to a person – surprised it was blueberry. (I think one family member audibly gasped.) Frankly, so was I, after all these years of suppressing my emotions, bottling up my secret, living with it, it was out there.

They were even more surprised with my second choice: banana cream, something I find to be a dark horse in the pie game, one that’s often overlooked for its flavor and complexity.

The downside to loving blueberry pie for someone like me (that is, a fast eater who routinely spills food on his shirt, pants and the floor) is that it stains … and not just a little. (There’s a reason the denture-cleaning folks always use blueberry as the “hard-to-remove stain” from one’s prosthetic choppers.)

The upside is I don’t eat pie often, and when I do, it’s rarely blueberry, so generally, my clothes, shoes and the floor are safe. (Seriously, sometimes I think I should stand in the kitchen sink while I’m eating, just so I can rinse all the crumbs and other food I’ve spilled down the drain, hit the switch on the garbage disposal and then burn my clothes. But that’s another topic altogether.)

Beyond pie, I find blueberries positively delightful as a stand-alone treat. They’re delicious, easy to eat (like M&Ms or salted peanuts), and like most fruits and vegetables, there’s no guilt after tossing down a couple handfuls.

(Before you lecture me about the “massive” amounts of sugar contained in fruits, I figure I’d have to eat several tons of blueberries – or any other berry – before it would be a concern. And even then, the concern would likely be more that I’ve just eaten several tons of something rather than its sugar content. I also looked up the types of animals that gravitate toward blueberries, and they tend to be small critters that are always moving, darting from one thing to the next, much like yours truly, and therefore, probably burning off all that blueberry sugar as fast as they ingest it.)

Blueberries entered my life a bit later than other fruits. When I was a kid, our “everyday” fruits were things like apples and oranges. Back then, fruits were available on a more seasonal – and local -- basis, so in the late spring and early summer, we’d get strawberries and raspberries from my grandparents’ vines.

We’d also get watermelon, plums and peaches shipped to us from the South (since the Midwest didn’t offer the climate or growing conditions for such “exotic” items), and when we got our hands on them, it was a little bit of heaven.

But I don’t recall ever getting blueberries as a kid, and so, no blueberry pie. Thus, I grew up with the standard pie varieties, “classics” like apple, cherry and of course, pumpkin on Thanksgiving.

My mom also made a killer lemon pie (not lemon meringue, just lemon), which she cranked out every couple of months, just seldom enough for it to be a special treat in our family.

Then, one day as a young adult, I was in a diner with a friend, and throwing caution to the wind, when asked if was interested in dessert, I decided to try something new and ordered blueberry pie. And from that moment on, it has been my pie of choice.

And if you’re wondering, I don’t take it a la mode. Call me a pie purist (actually, don’t because that sounds strange, but you can think it; just keep it to yourself) but I like my pie without any accoutrements. And save the “Just give me a sliver” talk for another day. I’ll take a big piece, much bigger than what you just lopped off right there, so give that one to someone who does feel guilty about having dessert and take another – bigger – whack when dishing up my portion: a little more … a little more … there, that’s perfect!

Now, I know this discussion has centered around pie, and specifically, blueberry pie, but the interesting thing (OK, it’s probably anything but interesting, but at least it has you 1) thinking about pie, 2) considering blueberry pie as a contender on your favorites list or 3) you’ve long since left this conversation and moved onto something – anything – more important)

is that I’m not a huge pie fan to begin with. That’s because I’m not a huge fan of sweets or desserts in general, though if they’re presented to me, or if I’m stranded on a desert – or “dessert” – island (see what I did there?), I’ll acquiesce and join the crowd, if for no other reason because it could mean the difference between survival and slow, agonizing death by starvation.

That said, I have nothing against other pies (apple, cherry, key lime, etc.), and like your political views (none of which we will share here), I’ll defend your right to hold whatever opinion you hold about pie (even if I don’t agree). But if I’m going to take the time and effort to eat pie, make mine blueberry, as risky as it might be to my shirt, pants, shoes, and maybe someday, my dentures.

Are you better off having this information? Doubtful, but at least I didn’t spend this time discussing my political views because that likely would have left stains everywhere.

© 2022 David R. Haznaw

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