Sunday, October 25, 2009

what is pie for?...

When I was very young, in elementary school, I loved football and as we lived in South Dakota, the nearest team, our "home team" was the Minnesota Vikings. I loved their quarterback at the time, Fran Tarkenton and remember reading in an interview that his favorite food was chili. For some time after that, on the rare occasions that we ate out, I ordered only chili.
Some years ago, I read that Ralph Waldo Emerson ate apple pie for breakfast so (in the spirit of youthful imitation) I gave it a try. Well...I really love apple pie for breakfast. The problem is that I don't much love most of the apple pies made in the stores, I am too cheap to buy good bakery pies, and though I make many of our family's meals, for some reason my attempts at apple pie have not been pretty.
Fortunately my wonderful wife (who is a successful college textbook editor) makes a splendid apple pie (not too sweet and with the apple peels left on) so every now and again I am lucky enough to indulge myself with an Emersonian pie...
Here are two stories of Emerson and pie related by Oliver Wendell Holmes in his biography "Ralph Waldo Emerson:"

"At breakfast we had, among other things, pie. This article at breakfast was one of Mr. Emerson's weaknesses. A pie stood before him now. He offered to help somebody from it, who declined; and then one or two others, who also declined; and then Mr_____________. ; he too declined. ' But Mr.____________. ! ' Mr. Emerson remonstrated, with humorous emphasis, thrusting the knife under a piece of the pie, and putting the entire weight of his character into his manner, — ' but Mr____________. , what is pie for ?'"


"A near friend of mine, a lady, was once in the cars with Emerson, and when they stopped for the refreshment of the passengers he was very desirous of procuring something at the station for her solace. Presently he advanced upon her with a cup of tea in one hand and a wedge of pie in the other, — such a wedge ! She could hardly have been more dismayed if one of Caesar's cunei, or wedges of soldiers, had made a charge against her.
Yet let me say here that pie, often foolishly abused, is a good creature, at the right time and in angles of thirty or forty degrees. In semicircles and quadrants it may sometimes prove too much for delicate stomachs. But here was Emerson, a hopelessly confirmed pie-eater, never, so far as I remember, complaining of dyspepsia; and there, on the other side, was Carlyle, feeding largely on wholesome oatmeal, groaning with indigestion all his days, and living with half his self-consciousness habitually centred beneath his diaphragm."


1 comment:

PeaceBang said...

"Such a wedge!"
I love these anecdotes.
Let's hear it for PIE.