Saturday, March 11, 2023

Weekend Cooking: Pi Day

March 14 is Pi Day, as in the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. This is not to be confused with National Pie Day which is January 23, but it is a good occasion on either day to make, or at least talk about pie!

I don't know about you but when I think of pie, I think of sweet pie, but to be honest we cook far more savoury pies than we ever make sweet ones. One of our favourites is this Green Curry Chicken Pie and another is making a pie out of this Steak and Pepper casserole.

I have decided that this is the perfect opportunity to share a quote I have been saving for a while now. Last year I read The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles.  Whilst this wasn't necessarily a foodie book there were several passages in this book that I wanted to share as I did enjoy the way that Towles wrote about food, and other things too, but for the purpose of this post let's concentrate on the food. I do have another quote saved somewhere. There was another passage that lovingly described eating Fettucine Mio Amore at Leonello's, an Italian restaurant. This dish isn't an option on the menu so you have to be in the know to ask for it, and another passage was about cooking this same recipe, but I don't know what I did with that quote. I might have to reborrow the book!

This week though, I am going to share a passage about why we spend time and effort cooking for the people we love. I hope you enjoy the quote too!

The character speaking here is Sally, a young woman in 1950s country America.

From a man's point of view, the one thing that's needful is that you sit at his feet and listen to what he has to say, no matter how long it takes for him to say it, or how often he's said it before. By his figuring, you have plenty of time for sitting and listening because a meal is something that makes itself. The manna, it falls from heaven, and with a snap of the fingers, the water can be turned into wine. Any woman who's gone to the trouble of baking an apple pie can tell you that's how a man sees the world.


To bake an apple pie, you've first got to make the dough. You've got to cut the butter into the flour, gather it with a beaten egg and a few tablespoons of ice water, let it bind overnight. The next day, you've got to peel and core the apples, cut them into wedges, and toss them with cinnamon sugar. You've got to roll out the crust and assemble the pie. Then you bake it at 425 for fifteen minutes and 350 for another forty-five. Finally, when supper's over, you carefully plate a slice and set it on the table where, in midsentence, a man will fork half of it into his mouth and swallow without chewing, so that he can get right back to saying what he was saying without the chance of being interrupted.


And strawberry preserves? Don't get me started on strawberry preserves!


As young Billy pointed out so rightly, making preserves is a time-consuming venture. Just picking the berries takes you half a day. Then you have to wash and stem the fruit. You have to sterilize the lids and jars.  Once you combine the ingredients, you have to set them on simmer and watch them like a hawk, never letting yourself stray more than a few feet from the stove to make sure they don't overcook. When they’re ready, you pour the preserves, seal the jars, and lug them into the pantry one tray at a time. Only then can you start the process of cleaning up, which is a job in itself.


And yes, as Duchess pointed out, the canning of preserves is a little old-fashioned, hearkening back to the era of root cellars and wagon trains. I suppose the word preserves is bygone when compared to the blunt precision of jam.


And as Emmett pointed out, it is, above all, unnecessary. Thanks to Mr. Smucker, at the grocer there are fifteen varieties of jam selling for nineteen cents a jar, season in and season out. In fact, jam has become so readily available, you can practically buy it at the hardware store.


So yes, the making of strawberry preserves is time-consuming, old-fashioned, and unnecessary.


Then why, you might ask, do I bother to do it?


I do it because it's time-consuming.


Whoever said that something worthwhile shouldn't take time? It took months for the Pilgrims to sail to Plymouth Rock. It took years for George Washington to win the Revolutionary War. and it took decades for the pioneers to conquer the West.


Time is that which God uses to separate the idle from the industrious. For time is a mountain and upon seeing its steep incline, the idle will lie down among the lilies of the field and hope that someone passes by with a pitcher of lemonade. What the worthy endeavor requires is planning, effort, attentiveness, and the willingness to clean up.


I do it because it's old-fashioned. 

Just because something's new doesn't mean it's better; and often enough, it means it's worse.

Saying please and thank you is plenty old-fashioned. Getting married and raising children is old-fashioned. Traditions, the very means by which we come to know who we are, are nothing if not old-fashioned.


I make preserves in the manner that was taught to me by my mother, God rest her soul. She made preserves in the manner that was taught to her by her mother, and Grandma made preserves in the manner that was taught to her by hers. And so on, and so forth, back through the ages all the way to Eve. Or, at least as far as Martha.


And I do it because it's unnecessary.


For what is kindness but the performance of an act that is both beneficial to another and unrequired? There is no kindness in paying a bill. There is no kindness in getting up at down to slop the pigs, or milk the cows, or gather the eggs from the henhouse. For that matter, there is no kindness in making dinner, or in cleaning the kitchen after your father heads upstairs without so much as a word of thanks.


There is no kindness in latching the doors and turning out the lights, or in picking up the clothes from the bathroom floor in order to put them in the hamper. There is no kindness in taking care of a household because your only sister has the good sense to get herself married and move to Pensacola.


Nope, I said to myself while climbing into bed and switching off the light, there is no kindness in any of that. 


For kindness begins where necessity ends.


Weekly meals

Saturday - Zucchini, Parmesan and Tomato Rissotto
Sunday -  Roast chicken, rolls and potato salad
Monday -  Warm steak salad
Tuesday - pork sausages, chips and gravy
Wednesday - Pressure cooker spaghetti bolognaise
Thursday - Mexican chicken parma, mash and beans
Friday - Takeaway

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page


  1. I like all sorts of pies but savory is a favorite if asked to choose. Have heard about this book but not gotten to it yet. Love your weekly menu!

    1. I was surprised by how much I liked this book Tina!

  2. “ —I can see from your expression that you’re a little daunted by all this variety, Woolly, but worry not. Because the only dish that you have to order at Leonello’s is the one the waiter hasn’t mentioned: Fettuccine Mio Amore, the specialty of the house. A fresh-made pasta that’s tossed in a sauce of tomatoes, bacon, caramelized onions, and pepper flakes. —But why doesn’t the waiter mention it, if it’s the specialty of the house? —He doesn’t mention it because it’s the specialty of the house. That’s the way it goes with Fettuccine Mio Amore. Either you know enough to order it, or you don’t deserve to eat it. I could tell from the smile on Woolly’s face that he was enjoying his night at Leonello’s.” (The Lincoln Highway, p. 138)

    from mae at

    1. Thanks for sharing that Mae and thanks for stopping by!

  3. yes I am definitely on Team savoury for pies! And i have a weird dislike of apple pies. Mm squidgy hot fruit is so not my thing :) But I agree that making something that takes time and care can be balm for the soul.

    1. I like a good fruit pie, but I don't make them often Sherry!

  4. I am definitely going to try the egg trick with my next pie crust!

    1. I haven't made a crust with the egg like that before Melynda!



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