How I eat local: American pie
I’ve never met Paula Haney, but I definitely have a crush. She’s the baker behind Hoosier Mama Pie Company, a tiny gem of a shop on Chicago Avenue near Ashland in Chicago. I visited her shop not too long ago and was flooded with memories of my grandmother’s pie.
Local purists will pooh-pooh seeing a recipe for lemon pie written by someone in the Midwest, but even though the farmers markets have opened, we have absolutely no fruit yet, not even rhubarb, and we can still get good citrus from Florida and California. After all, if we ate completely local we would never have chocolate or coffee, or vanilla to make ice cream. Mindfulness is the important thing to me, and it’s important to make knowledgeable choices about our ingredients.
Just as important as the ingredients, it’s also important to preserve our foodways, in this case handmade pies. Paula and Hoosier Mama represent the best of this approach. They use all butter and roll each crust by hand, and the recipes are based on Paula’s research into vintage cookbooks.
So buy a lot of Paula’s pies, or find your own local pie baker. Or even try making your own from my grandmother’s recipe. It’s a delicious way to eat local.
Grandma O’Brien’s lemon meringue pie
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
For 9-inch pie
1 baked 9-inch pastry shell
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
7 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
3 beaten egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
In saucepan over medium high heat, combine sugar, conrstarch and salt. Stir in water. Bring to boil and cook, stirring constantly, until thick, about five minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks, then return yolks into the pan, stirring contantly. Add lemon peel and butter. Slowly stir in lemon juice. Cool to lukewarm and pour into cooled pastry shell.
Disclosure: the picture is of Paula’s lemon meringe pie. Can’t guarantee grandma’s 1953 recipe will look the same.
And more about local eating:
Photo by Janine MacLachlan, all rights reserved.