Monthly Archives: January 2017

Either Way.

So yesterday was National Pie Day.  The occasion didn’t escape our notice, but we always choose to make our pie day A THING on March 14th and we call it Pi(e) Day and discount everything by $3.14.  Mainly because we are girls that like a theme and because you can try all you want, but coming up with fun marketing ideas centered around the theme of “January 23rd” is a challenge to say the least.

The American Pie Council establishes the date for National Pie Day.  (Clearly they are less concerned with marketing fun events than we are or they wouldn’t pick the third week of January to celebrate.)  Beyond establishing the date for National Pie Day, the American Pie Council apparently hosts the annual National Pie Championships.  Wait.  What?  Is there a trophy involved?  Because that would look super nice in our foyer.

And if you’ve been a reader here for long, you have probably picked up on the fact that I’m fairly competitive.  While Jeanne can maintain her zen about most things, I can be righteously indignant for years about any number of things (everyone in my Inner Circle just nodded their heads vigorously).  Which is precisely why when I discuss a pie championship with Jeanne, she rolls her eyes and disclaims the need to fly all the way to Orlando in May to compete against various pie companies from across the country when she already feels that we are the best at what we do.  And precisely why I’m simultaneously obsessing about what we should bake while we are there and our mentally drafting our acceptance speech for the win in the Commercial Division entry.

That said, I just looked at the entry form and it is $250 for each pie entry we make…and they offer 29 categories.  So if we entered every category offered (and you know I would), we would spend $7,250 to simply be judged.  And let’s say we keep it real and limit ourselves to four categories or so…so that’s $1,000 plus airfare and hotel cost, and the logistics of figuring out how to bake in the kitchens of The Rosen Centre in Orlando.  And win or lose, that’s a lot of money and effort and time away from progress on #WorldPieDomination at PJP.  Or a small price to pay for accolades and trophies and press releases announcing our win(s).  Either way.

We will have to think on this decision, American Pie Council.  In the interim, please consider ditching January for National Pie Day.  Your marketing team – and PJP – will thank you…


Epic Pie Tasting.

As always, we had a tremendous amount of fun at our monthly epic pie tasting last Thursday evening.  (We call it monthly, but really…we hadn’t hosted one since last September because of all the crazy of October, November, and December preventing any schedule availability.)   And I guess we weren’t the only ones excited to welcome back this event…it sold out in less than 24 hours after posting to Facebook.

Of all the events we do, pie tasting is a Team PJP favorite.  (If it tells you anything, it isn’t uncommon for members of Team PJP to attend pie tasting on their own time, solely for the fun of it.)  We spend a lot of time planning our menu for the evening and ALL DAY baking for the event.  And more than any other event, we use Epic Pie Tasting as a barometer for our growth as bakers and as entrepreneurs…in our early days, we would terror sweat while slicing pies as all of our guests stood there and looked at us (or helped).  But last week, we were done by mid-afternoon with almost no struggle or panic.  I KNOW.

So, top pies on last week’s tasting menu included an Irish Cream, a Blueberry Lemon, a Boston Cream Pie, Jeanne’s famous cookies (as a pie), a Peanut Butter/Banana “Elvis” pie, an Apple Cheddar, and a Bacon Mushroom quiche.  Without question, the Irish Cream won rave reviews (though, a few of us were basically drunk in late afternoon from all of the sampling we did when trying to figure out how much Bailey’s Irish Cream is too much Irish Cream…).  This pie was completely delicious and will start to go into rotation at PJP Buttonwood this week.  Surprisingly, the Boston Cream Pie was also a big hit.  Incorporating a pie crust, this pie layered the cream filing on a baked crust, covered with chunks of homemade pound cake, and a chocolate ganache drizzle.

Collectively, our 22 guests and Team PJP felt the Blueberry Lemon needed a bit more tartness (though it is a super pretty pie that will be sure to arrive on our shelves in the spring with some extra lemon).  The Elvis pie was great, but didn’t cut that well (and may not translate well to a deeper baby pie tin).  Jeanne’s famous cookies were delicious as always, but A LOT of sweet in a pie crust.  The Apple Cheddar left us all confused…does the cheddar go in with the apples on on top of the crust?  Or both?  None of us were sure and it left most of us with a meh feeling.

And finally, I make quiche a lot for us for lunch at PJP.  I basically use whatever we have on hand because it is easy and then we can all eat and keep working.  There has been a lot of discussion about selling quiche because everyone at PJP loves it, but I dismiss it…until it became the favorite of last week’s pie tasting.  We had calls on Friday to order quiche from people who tried it the night before or who had heard from someone at pie tasting that the quiche was top notch.  I made it for several orders over the weekend, but normalizing it into our daily routine is another undertaking to consider.  All that said, #WorldQuicheDomination does have a certain ring to it…



One of the downsides of the slower days in January is that it makes me (even more) psychologically crazy, as I have the extra time to focus on all the things that need to be done for #worldpiedomination to continue forward progress.  And trust me, the list is SUPER LONG.

Earlier today, I took a deep breath and stared directly into the face of the two worst to-do items ever:  accounting and payroll.  Gah.  THE WORST.

We’ve been transitioning to a new accounting person and she’s given me a long list of information she needs.  And I really wanted to respond to the whole list with “uhhhhh???” because I know she gives me more credit in the organizational bookkeeping department than is ever warranted.  (I’m sure I will shatter all of her illusions by late next week when she really gets to know me.)  But on the upside, I told her that the best way to handle me is to tell me when I do something wrong and to never hesitate to text me in all caps when I’m supposed to be doing something she really needs me to do, like signing forms and writing absurdly large checks to the IRS.  And she was pretty down with that plan, so I have high hopes for it working out.  (Though, next week she inviting me over to give me a Quickbooks lesson, so she may have a break down after that.  Let’s all keep her in our thoughts.)

Another item high on my list of “stuff that stresses me out at PJP” is payroll.  Currently, Behind-The-Scenes-Tech Guru Jason calculates payroll and sends me an email with the check amounts to write.  Which works splendidly until I forget when payroll is due and then ask him at 11:15 at night to calculate all that.  Or until someone needs a pay stub from weeks ago and I don’t know how to get that and promptly forget to ask Jason to do it.  Which I’m sure is how all multi-national corporations start out, right?

So I called Moresource and today, Brian Cunningham came to PJP and listened to our current setup and didn’t fall down laughing OR consider us a lost cause.  Instead, he is just going to calculate payroll, automatically deposit the checks into the accounts, and pay the litany of quarterly taxes due.  Yes, please.  Yes times the 26 or so payroll cycles I dealt with in 2016.  Jeanne and I couldn’t be happier.  And neither could the eight people who work for us, I’m guessing.

Tomorrow, we host our Epic Pie Tasting Event for January and that means we will bake almost all day….which means I’ll be too busy to talk to anyone about withholdings, filings, or W2s.  WHEW.