Monthly Archives: September 2015

Righteous Indignation…

Lost in all the madness of Roots and Blues prep is one significant piece of PJP news…our Ecolab dishwasher is FINALLY being removed next Tuesday.  It has only taken months of lobbying for removal since our contract for service ended in April for it to finally happen (we actually gave written notice to terminate in February).  Our new dishwasher, this one from the Swisher Hygiene company, promises to cost a few dollars less a month and to not require minimum monthly chemical purchases.  It should be delivered on Tuesday afternoon, hopefully just as the Ecolab dishwasher is removed.

I would like to think that the removal of our current dishwasher means a close to our long and tumultuous relationship with the Ecolab corporation…but we both know that is unlikely.  I still haven’t paid all those bills for the $75 a month of chemicals that we never purchased.  Every time Debbie from collections calls, I smile and remind her nicely that we won’t be paying it EVER.  Because I haven’t paid it, Ecolab has added on another $1000 or so in “reinstatement fees”, an extra charge so vague that the collections department isn’t even clear why it is assessed.


I suppose one could argue that it would be easier to just pay the past due balance and move on (and I bet Debbie from Collections would be the very first to support this idea).  But we really just can’t agree out of simple principle.  And here is why…small businesses matter.  I’m washing 50 loads of dishes a day right now.  One day, we will achieve World Pie Domination and our production facility will wash 550 loads of dishes a day.  I bet I matter a lot more to the dishwashing industry when that happens than I do now.  But the point is, Ecolab doesn’t care want we want or need right now…and that says a lot about their company philosophy.

More than likely, Ecolab doesn’t really care about our $75 a month…how can they when they bring in millions each year?  But they care enough to send bills and call us each week about it.  So we care enough to refuse to pay it on the theory that what we need right should actually matter.

I’ll guess I’ll add Debbie from Collections to our Christmas card list…

Two Days and Three Hours…

According to the Roots and Blues website, we are just about two days and three hours from festival kickoff.  Not that we are counting, or anything.  Ahem…


Jeanne and I spent most of our day planning, preparing, and having some mild panic about the PJP Roadshow.  Here are a few brief PJP + RBB fun facts…

  1. We are planning to bake (and believe we will sell) 2,000 baby pies.  That said, I have mentally entertained what it will feel like to sell just five baby pies over the course of three days.  Or to run out of 2,000 by 4 pm on Saturday.  That way, I’m fully prepared for whatever comes our way.
  2. We based the number of pies based on the guess that 10% of the average festival attendance might choose pies over funnel cakes.  Or pies plus funnel cakes.
  3. Also, if you must know, I only ordered 2,000 forks.
  4. For the next three days, we will be making more dough and rolling more baby shells than we’ve ever even thought about.
  5. That said, in the throes of my panic this morning, we received our first Thanksgiving order.  It was a good reminder that this weekend is training ground for our November pie-baking marathon.
  6. We’ve been assigned Spot #4 in the vendor area.  Nope, I don’t know what that means either, but I hope it is prime vending real estate.
  7. Jeanne will head up a team of pie bakers at PJP Buttonwood, while I head up a team of pie sellers at PJP Spot #4.
  8. We’ve decided to leave the store open to foot traffic on Saturday because we a) like a challenge, b) hate to disappoint anyone, and c) are a little crazy.
  9. Our friends at Gofer are delivering fresh pies from PJP Buttonwood to PJP Spot #4.  Have you heard of these people?  They will deliver you anything you desire…whenever you want it.  I bet the first time we call and ask them to deliver us thirty dozen eggs and two bottles of wine at midnight, they will rethink the relationship.
  10. I’ve spent the last few days listening to most of the artists who will be playing this weekend and I’m super excited.  Hey, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors…I really can’t wait.

Pie Wars.

On occasion, I’ll fall down the rabbit hole of watching Cupcake Wars or something similar on television.  And if you aren’t familiar, the premise of this particular type of show is basically this:  create cupcakes using lemon peel, Captain Crunch cereal, and goat’s milk.  Assemble using only a soup spoon.  Do it in just 45 minutes and then a team of judges (always inexplicably including Jessica Alba) will judge the creation.  Bonus points if you wear pink jackets and say the word “yummy” a lot.

Picturing Jeanne and I in some sort of random pie baking war, the table of bizarre ingredients never gives me pause.  Jeanne lives for that sort of challenge and asking her to create a pie out of crushed cereal would leave her completely unfazed.  Rather, what would slay us is the time limitation in most of theses competitions.

Until today, of course.

Last week, I received a call from someone hoping to order 10 nine-inch pies for pickup today.  While we are closed on Mondays, I knew Jeanne and I would be at PJP Buttonwood for a better part of the day to prep for Roots and Blues this weekend, so I accepted the order for pickup at 9 am.  And while I remembered, I didn’t think to remind Jeanne.  She arrived at PJP Buttonwood at 6:30 and started making dough and rolling shells…and when I arrived at 7:50 after dropping kids off at school, I asked her how much of the order she had gotten done.  And when she said “what order?”, I knew we were in some serious trouble.

And look, I’m telling you now, you have likely never seen two people bake 10 pies so fast.  None of the pies were the same flavors, so we divided and conquered the list.  We fired up the ovens, put on our aprons, and moved quickly.  We didn’t even talk, if that tells you how focused we were on our pie-making.  Every time an oven timer went off, well…

running late

And in the end, we had all 10 pies in the oven in 42 minutes.  And when the customer arrived to pick them up just as the last one came out of the oven, we told them that they likely had the 10 freshest pies in Missouri in their possession.  (But we never said the word “yummy” once.)

Which brings me to my final point…if there is a pie bake-off show, we would basically win.  We can make pie out of cellophane cheese,  Wheat Thins, and dried apples if we need to.  And clearly in 42 minutes or less.  Let’s just hope Jessica Alba is ready for us.