Last Thursday’s Epic Pie Tasting event was, as always, a rousing success. We tried a number of new pie recipes, including one that requires you to line a baked pie crust with Twinkies. YEAH, I KNOW. (Honestly, it had been eons since anyone on Team PJP had actually eaten a Twinkie, so after we sampled around and ate most of the box…we had to supplement the coverage of the crust with vanilla Zingers. And I had completely forgotten just how overly processed, but delicious Zingers taste. Shameful, I know.) The crust and snack cakes were then covered with pineapple, vanilla pudding, and bananas…which sounds odd but was a fan favorite (it was dubbed the “Tropical Island Delight” by most). (In full disclosure, I did not try it. I like my snack cakes the way Hostess intended them…right out of the package.)
We also tried a mocha pie (needed more coffee), a chocolate mint pie (needed more mint), a blueberry/gooseberry pie (big hit), a red velvet pie (too dry) and a buttermilk pecan pie that too closely resembled our buttermilk chess pie. We will definitely rework some of these for a pie tasting in the future to see if we can improve upon the versions we tried last week. Note to self: more coffee and more mint. And start selling the Blueberry Gooseberry pie ASAP.
And for maybe the first time ever, our crowd of guests erupted in applause…not for a pie we created, but for the concept behind it. We used our tart papers and created homemade Moon Pies, thinking ahead to the eclipse that occurs on August 21st. I read recently that thousands of people from all over the world will visit Columbia to view the once-in-a-life time eclipse event because the eclipse will fall directly over Columbia. Which made me think that we should either a) rent out our personal homes on AirBnB for premium cash, or b) figure out something fun to do at PJP. And since I’m not super keen on strangers sleeping in my bed, we’ve decided to open on Monday the 21st and sell Moon Pies (along with all the usual). The Moon Pies we made were undeniably cute, but need some work in the consistency department. Making the filling from scratch and not creating a gooey mess is more difficult than you would guess. We want the Moon Pies to be packaged in tart bags and tied with cute ribbon, so we have some tweaking to do to make them enjoyable without a spoon and a pile of moist towelettes. Because how can you wear your special eclipse glasses if you are covered in marshmallow?
Today we actually worked on a bit of planning for Pi(e) Day, thinking ahead to the flavors and quantities we plan to offer for our annual $3.14 off everything Pi(e) Day celebration. And we must not have been the only ones thinking a few weeks ahead because within 15 minutes of each other, several customers called to place orders for that week totaling 1,250 baby pies over a three day period for pickup.
Which is only to say that if you stop by PJP Buttonwood in the next two weeks and find us doing anything besides working on the daily baking schedule OR weighing and rolling out 1,250 baby pie shells, please yell at us to get back to work. As soon as I post this blog entry, I’m sending out an APB text message to Team PJP that we will all be working March 11th, 12th, and 13th, so they should rest up and make no plans but dough rolling plans.
A few other thoughts that have nothing to do with anything at all…
- Our February Epic Pie Tasting Event is tomorrow evening. Which means that we will bake all day and make no less than eight trips to Hy-vee for random ingredients we normally don’t stock. But Epic Pie Tasting is still my favorite event to host because it never disappoints with fun and good conversation.
- A bird flew into our window recently and died upon impact. I immediately panicked that it was an omen of something bad to come because I’m prone to superstition. Jeanne completely dismissed my panic, claiming it could only be bad omen if you found the dead bird in your house. Wait…what?
- I just consulted Google (as one does) and a dead bird in your house symbolizes a new beginning. I guess a dead bird outside your store means your windows are too clean?
- And if that isn’t enough, we watched a guy in a coat with a hood and a full face mask look in every car in the parking lot this morning. He completely creeped us out and Jeanne called the police non-emergency number to report his suspicious behavior. My favorite part of the call was when the dispatcher warned us not to approach him. I felt like yelling back into the phone that I’ve been stressed out by a DEAD BIRD for the last 24 hours, so it is a safe bet that I won’t be approaching a scary person in our parking lot.
- But I did leave to walk over to Starbucks while the police were in transit. No one (or bird) comes between us and our morning iced coffees…
Late last week, a staff member at the Boone County Historical Society read the blog post about our failed attempt to purchase tables at the University of Missouri surplus auction (spoiler alert: we are terrible at auctions). And she passed that post on to Chris Campbell, the Executive Director of the historical society. Then he called me late last week and said that he had all sorts of tables and folding chairs to give away to us, if we were interested. UHHH….YES.
So this morning, we went over to chat with Chris and take a quick peek at the tables and chairs…which are nothing short of amazing for our needs. He also treated us to a pretty sweet little tour of the historical society, to which I say: IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN THERE, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GO. Chris has a great story of how he ended up at the historical society from a career at Paramount Pictures. And when he shares his vision for the continued growth of the historical society, it is easy to be excited for their future plans. (As a side note, they have a Boone County Hall of Fame and I’ve added “get inducted” to the PJP goal list.)
So now we have tables, chairs, new friendships with Chris and his team, and a serious addition to our bucket list (#halloffamepies). Which only serves an excellent reminder that the people and organizations in our community completely slay it when it comes to supporting local businesses. We couldn’t appreciate it more, seriously.
Which reminds me, PJP has been nominated for the Inside Columbia, Best of Columbia 2017 as the Best Place to Get Dessert. The competition is fierce (as always), so we’ll take it as an honor to just be nominated. But I can’t figure out how we are going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame without some serious awards on our resume, so vote early and vote often. #halloffamepies