Monthly Archives: January 2014

Moguls

Our weekend at Lucky’s was a whirlwind of activity…we baked pies, cut 1,000+ samples, visited with old friends and made a lot of new friends (and even had the surreal experience of autographing a few pie boxes and posing for a few pictures).  It was exactly what we both needed…we are the creative and social types that NEED some interaction with our pie-loving peeps or we start to lose our sanity and question our goals.  When we are alone and rolling dough, we both have moments of second-guessing our plan to become pie moguls.  Give us a crowd and we are back on target to becoming the “Cake Boss” of the pie-eating world.

A little renewed and refreshed from our fun weekend, we rolled into today with some GOALS.  While baking late on Saturday night, I realized I needed about 1 1/2 cups of pecans to finish out the very last German Chocolate pie before we could clean up and call it a night.  We typically buy local whole pecans and then use a food processor to chop them up and re-bag them.  We had plenty of whole pecans, but none left of the processed and bagged variety.  I eyed the food processor on the counter that had already been washed and dried and put back in place.  That German Chocolate pie was well over our 100th pie baked in two days and we were SO VERY TIRED.  So, I made an executive decision…I took the whole pecans and beat them with a meat tenderizer until they were in pieces.  It was a little cathartic for the final leg of a long baking schedule and frankly, I sort of enjoyed it.  Alas, I can’t see us beating bags of pecans with tenderizers once we are in our shop and I seriously hate washing a food processor.

This is only a long way to justify the first item on our GOALS list for today…find a supplier of fresh CHOPPED pecans.  Amazon.com is developing drones to deliver online purchases, so I would suspect that we live in an age of readily available chopped pecans (though Jeanne swore it was impossible).  And…

It exists.

A company will ship 30 pounds of fresh and CHOPPED pecans directly to your door for a price that is so good, I had to double check my iPhone calculator twice.  I’ve really marveled all day that we will never have to food processor or meat tenderize 30 pounds of pecans again.  And hey, I realize that making such a big deal about this is totally lame because they are pecans and six months ago, I would have bet you $10 that I would never even Google “pecans”, nor crowed around all day about CHOPPED PECANS.  I wish I could muster up some embarrassment about all this, but I can’t.  Because CHOPPED PECANS.

Our other major goal for today was to follow up with the mechanical engineer on the whole “you need a vent” vs. “no we don’t” argument.  Would you like to see the new baking mechanism for PJP V. 2.0?

oven 2

 

ONE. SINGLE. CONVECTION. OVEN.

Did you just roll your eyes and groan?  Yeah, us too.  It was a battle we couldn’t win.  A double stack oven would have required some way to pump the heat out of the building and every option given was somewhere in the range of $4,000 or more, with the added bonus of maybe then needing a sprinkler system installed.

I so don’t understand.  I wish I did, but I keep thinking about those 1,000 square feet with 20 foot ceilings and I don’t understand how one double oven produces enough heat that we have to install a hood system.  I even went for the pity card of suggesting we install ceiling fans to help cool the space, but the engineer just scoffed.  So…awesome.  Because of the city’s over-restrictive and poorly worded regulations, we are saddled with an oven that cooks eight or so pies at a time.  (I can’t wait to run for Columbia City Council someday and have that previous sentence thrown back at me…rest assured, I will still stand by it…in fact, maybe my platform should be “Double Ovens For Everyone”).

On the upside, the mechanical drawings should be complete soon and then perhaps someone can actually go to the space and do something.  I don’t even care what it is at this point…SOMETHING accomplished in that space would make us so happy.  In the meantime, I’ll just work on browsing the Internet for “best reviewed single commercial convection ovens.”

I have no idea how the City of Columbia thinks we are going to be pie moguls eight pies at a time.

Statistically Speaking…

So I normally don’t blog on Saturdays, but after our day of sampling and baking, I am honestly worried that if I don’t do something else with my hands besides hold a rolling pin, they will be clutched and frozen into a claw-type position for the rest of my days on earth.

Here is a breakdown of our last 36 hours:

Pies baked: 103

Pies taken to Lucky’s today: 55

Pies going tomorrow: 31

Pies baked for samples: 17 (shared between today’s sampling session and tomorrow’s)

Samples served today at Lucky’s: 750(ish)

Samples to be served tomorrow:  Until we run out of little spoons and little cups or someone objects to eating off a napkin with toothpick

Number of glasses of wine we had between 11 and 2:30:  Two each…a grocery store with a wine bar is a grocery store after our own hearts

Percentage of samplers who had heard of PJP before today: 60%(ish)

Number who asked if were a frozen food company out of New York: One (hint: we aren’t)

Autographs Given: One…these fine people asked Jeanne to sign their pie box:

autograph

 

Pounds of butter used in the last two days:  1,824,001(ish)

Number of times people mistook us for store employees to ask where random items were located:  Four.

Times I knew the answer because I go there every day to deliver pie: Two.

Sample most requested: German Chocolate (and yep, we will have some tomorrow as well!)

Sample that most surprised people:  Strawberry Rhubarb.  Rhubarb gets a bad rap because it looks weird…vastly more people who try it like it than don’t.  Or the are good at lying to us.

Hopes that we have that lots of you will come see us tomorrow from 11-3:  All the hope.

 

This Is A Legit Holiday…

Today is National Pie Day.  I know, right?  I had no clue and so I feel as if I’ve failed you in alerting you to this very important day.  As best as I can tell from much Googling, National Pie Day was established by the American Pie Council (again, I know, right?) and actually not by some Congressional resolution or presidential declaration.  The American Pie Council even has a countdown clock to today on their website: http://www.piecouncil.org/.

(On an unrelated note, it is also National Handwriting Day.  Who makes this stuff up?  Apparently you can just take something you like now and make it a day.  I therefore declare tomorrow to be National Let’s Drink White Wine Day.)

I would seriously love to know how the Pie Council picked January 23rd as pie day.  Do you think that a bunch of people who work there all wrote random dates down on slips of paper and then someone drew out of the bowl and “January 23rd” was written on there, so they just went with it?  It just seems to me that you would pick something more logical, like March 14th (get it? 3/14? 3.14? Pi? Anyone?).

Turns out the National Pie Council is quite the national organization (except if you live in Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, Tennessee, or Vermont…then you aren’t eligible to participate and no, I have no idea why).

You may join as an amateur or a professional and each year, they host a national pie-baking competition (along with hosting a bunch of “pie industry seminars”.  This year the competition is in Orlando in late April.  I’m seriously trying to convince Jeanne we should go, but she just rolls her eyes at me and I have no idea why because I guarantee you it will be warmer in Orlando in April than in mid-Missouri.  Also, I would totally bet you could write that whole thing off as a travel expense (and if you are reading this from the IRS, I totally plan to look into all applicable regulations and tax laws and keep the receipts…maybe even in a fancy file folder instead of a shoe box.  Please don’t audit us.)

And if Jeanne doesn’t go for the warmer temperatures and tax deductions galore, the grand prize is a trip for two to Zurich for three nights (again, with the random choices, Pie Council…is Zurich known for pie or something?).  I can guarantee you that whomever wins the whole competition would much rather be gifted with a magical electric apple peeler than a few nights in Zurich with an epic case of jet-lag.

The categories to enter are more than types of pie I even knew existed and yet I’m convinced we should go to this.  If anything, we always have a ridiculous amount of fun together.  Plus, it is always good to scope out the competition and find out new trends in pies.  The website also strongly encourages that we “arrive early to enjoy the merchandise mart”.  Really, could they make this deal sound any sweeter?  I can’t even guess what sort of wares they are peddling in the mart, but I would like to find out.

I wonder if the website will change the countdown clock to National Pie Day to the countdown clock for the National Pie Competition tomorrow?  We need to be honing our skills.  Or learning to ski for the Swiss Alps.