I was feeling a little sad towards the end of last year, mostly because I knew that we would not be able to add a commercial kitchen onto our home as I had hoped. I had put so much work into the planning process over these past five years, and I was pretty much spent by the end of last year. It was the first time I was glad to see the holidays over and done with, but it was also a rude awakening that this is life, and you have to get back on the horse! Some people may not agree with me, but I really do believe that things happen for a reason.
With my energies being focused on my business venture, I had completely forgotten that last October, I had placed a hold on a cookbook at my local library for the Art of the Pie, written by Kate McDermott. Her cookbook was released last October, but I think I was number 40 on the wait list. If I can check out a book through my library, that’s my preference. I find that if I’m still reading it 15 minutes later, that I’m most likely going to order a copy. What’s most important to me is that I need to connect with the author. The cookbook not only has to have great recipes, content and techniques, but also stories that capture and inspire my passion for baking. This book has all of that and more!
So needless to say when I got an email from my library early in January that this cookbook was waiting for me to pick up, I was pretty excited, especially after feeling a bit glum. I no more than got the cookbook home and finished reading it in two days! I kept saying to my husband in between my reading, “I love this book!” This is a 352 page cookbook, minus some of the pages being accounted for the contents and index, but needless to say, it’s one of the best cookbooks that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time!
The craft of making pies, was passed onto Kate from her grandma. Her grandma was known for her pies, as was my Aunt Elsie for her bread and my mom is for her lefse. I love so much of what Kate shares in this cookbook, especially when she talks about all the tears, laughter and wisdom that flow from within and out through her hands. Oh, how I can relate to this! I’ve had many tears, more so with learning to make lefse. But all the same, as baking is a craft and one that takes practice through one’s lifetime! Bread making came more naturally for me and I love the white and whole wheat bread that I make at home. It’s the same recipe that my aunt used. You know that a person is such a great mentor and teacher, when one can close their eyes when making bread, and I swear my aunt is right there by my side, in my kitchen with me.
I love when Kate talks about how pie is an ambassador of love. As a baker, you are always striving for perfection, but let’s face it, nothing is perfect in life and Kate goes onto to write that pie doesn’t care if it wins a blue ribbon at a fair. What matters is that we share our craft with others in hopes that the next generation will carry on the time honored tradition, whether that’s making grandma’s pies, Aunt Elsie’s bread, or my mom’s lefse. I may never know sometimes what to say to someone when in time of need, but I do have a gift to bake. Through my gift of baking, I am able to bake, share and give to someone that needs a gift of hope in letting them know that I care about them, and hopefully to leave them with a smile.
This weekend I finally got a chance to make the blueberry pie from this book. Everything from the crust to the filling was everything I could have wished for. It was a blueberry pie worthy of a blue ribbon, but then again, it’s not about the ribbon, is it? It’s about the love!