This evening, we hosted our final Epic Pie Tasting event of 2016 and thus ended a tremendous nine-month run of the event that always sells out in less than an hour once it is published on Facebook. And if you’ve attended an Epic Pie Tasting, then you know that the event itself is fairly low key but preparing for it by baking 12 to 15 different slab pies takes all us all day. We’ve decided to take an October/November/December Epic Pie Tasting hiatus given our already packed schedule in the coming weeks.
Today was no exception to the busy baking for the storefront AND Epic Pie Tasting except that I had an appointment this morning to have a wisdom tooth removed and thus spent the majority of the afternoon working with a Tylenol 4 induced high (which honestly wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen…ahem). And I only mention it for two reasons…1) if you wondered just how much of a control freak I am, please know that I return to PJP immediately following oral surgery, and 2) if you talked to me and wondered why I sounded like I had a mouth full of gauze…it’s because I did, in fact, have a mouth full of gauze. (I did go home mid-afternoon for about an hour and laid on the couch and contemplated sending Jeanne a text that simply said “You are on your own, sister” but I rallied. Or should I say, the Tylenol 4 rallied?)
At any rate, we pulled off a super fun night and I’m pretty certain everyone who came left with some new favorites (and we tried a new Pumpkin Praline that everyone adored). And as a whole, we all discovered a pie that is pretty terrible…Vinegar Pie. Pins for Vinegar Pie kept showing up on my Pinterest feed over the last few months and so I pinned it to show Jeanne. She was immediately intrigued because it sounded like an old-school recipe and those most basic flavor combinations usually hold a lot of promise. (Or so she said. Pinterest lost me at “vinegar”.) I’ll skip all the steps but the recipe basically calls for sugar, flour, water, vinegar, and a little lemon juice. Gah. It was 100% disappointing as you would suspect. Our only consistent rule at Epic Pie Tasting is that we refuse to be left with any pie. We broke that rule tonight and left a lonely tray of Vinegar Pie on the table for the dumpster in the morning.
Epic Pie Tasting will resume in January, 2017. In the meantime, we have started thinking seriously about the list of flavor options for Thanksgiving. We aren’t 100% what is on it, but you know what isn’t? Vinegar Pie, for sure.
I’ll let you in on a little Team PJP secret here…Tuesdays are our most challenging day of the week. We’ve all had at least two days off, we start with not a single pie available in the store, and the baking list inevitably looks daunting. Ask any of us and we would rather start at 4 am on a Friday morning with a clear goal for a busy weekend and a fairly stocked half-off table rather than wager a guess at how busy our Tuesday might be while we stare at empty shelves.
And in every way, today was pretty standard stuff for a Tuesday. We did a brief interview with a local publication, we baked a lot of pies, and Jeanne made me laugh so hard in the Wal-Mart parking lot that I had to rest against my car to catch my breath and wipe the tears off my face before I could get in the driver’s seat. (And in case you are curious, I’m only going to say that she has A LOT of opinions about gladiator sandals.) And it is precisely that sort of thing that is the reminder we both sometimes need that we do have the best jobs ever (I probably won’t remember today’s baking list, but I will remember for a long time just how hard she made me laugh today.)
And then buoyed by the rush of endorphins from laughing until we hurt, we went back to the shop and I tried to teach her to cut and paste text in a Word document. OH GOODNESS. I fear I’m going to toss and turn in my sleep tonight and mutter “Control + V” relentlessly. I feel we made 41% progress on the entire concept…which is fair enough because she made about 8% progress in teaching me to use a razor blade to clean baked on fruit off the side of our baking trays before I wandered away.
And all that said, we do have some super exciting news to share that we can make blog official…though it has nothing to do with pies or Jeanne and I. Rezina, our employee who recently arrived in America from Eritrea, is expecting her first baby! And look, I believe in judicious exclamation mark usage as a rule, but this news definitely warrants it. We are really happy for both Rezina and her husband and well, also us because we love babies. And also, adding a newborn to Team PJP is a definite milestone. We’ve hosted quite a few baby shower/baking party events over the last year, but we’ve got some ideas in mind to throw Rezina an epic event that ensures she has everything she needs as she settles into motherhood and life in America (because doing just one of those that is more than overwhelming…much less two).
Like I said, standard Tuesday at PJP.
Well, to start, thanks so much for all of the kind words regarding our Food Network magazine appearance and my nomination for the annual Columbia Daily Tribune’s Women in Business awards. Suffice it to say, we were feeling pretty special and on top of our game by the end of last week. Then I needed to vacuum the rugs in the foyer while Jeanne worked on scrubbing the bottom shelves of the refrigerator, so let’s all make a toast to keeping it real…
And because life goes on, a few important thoughts about frying pies:
- We worked again on fried pies for Roots and Blues, trying to perfect our skills and figure out how long it takes to fry each one and what flavors we would like to offer during the festival. And then we searched for a commercial fryer we could rent for the weekend, but EVERY SINGLE FRYER IN BOONE COUNTY HAS BEEN RESERVED. I only put that in caps because how often in my life will I get to make such a strong statement about fryers?
- In the course of researching fryers-for-rent, we noticed that we could rent a soft serve ice cream machine for the Roots and Blues weekend. And that made us wonder how alluring it might be to be able to add a healthy dollop of vanilla ice cream to a pie (fried or not) upon the purchaser’s request. Is that a good idea? Or am I motivated solely by the siren’s call of an endless stream of vanilla ice cream simply by pulling a handle?
- That said, if you don’t want every ad sponsored site in the entire world to show you pictures of fryers or ice cream makers for purchase, then don’t look at either on Amazon. Trust me on this.
- Actually, the thought of owning a large scale fryer is a sobering thought. I’m not sure we are ready to go down the road to fryer ownership. But I’ve been primed for commercial ice cream maker ownership since birth. BRING IT ON.
- And finally, I wrote a brief chapter for a publishing company on owning a niche business and signed the releases earlier today for publication. I’m seriously happy they didn’t find out first about the cutthroat world of the niche fryer rental market, or they would have never asked for me for my thoughts about pie. Seriously.