On Wednesday (yes, the first day of school), I decided, oh, around 8 pm, to make a pie. I made this decision for several reasons: the blackberries were almost over ripe, I was awake anyway, watching "Rivers and Tides" trying to decide if I could use it in the Intro to Creative Nonfiction class, Son had just gone to bed, and we were having dinner the next night with Scorpion's Tail and company. A pie seems like a good thing to bring along.
Here's the pie. It was good, but not amazing. The crust was, overall, good, but tough in a few places. The filling was good, but, in my opinion, should have been sweeter. One friend disagreed. But.
This was my favorite part of the pie, the little lip where some filling was oozing out. I decided I like a pie that's not perfect, that has some imperfection. Otherwise, how would I know it was mine?
I have to say that the idea of "imperfection" has been greatly influenced by Andy Goldsworthy. I was watching, as I said, the documentary, "Rivers and Tides" as I waited for the crust to chill, then for the pie to bake, etc. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) that most art is so tightly controlled as to be airless. He likes to make art that incorporates surprise, chance, chaos. I think this is my theory of pies, and life, as well.
While making the pie I encountered the moment, as I do in most baking endeavors, where I ask myself, Why am I doing this? and simultaneously almost burst into tears. I don't want baking to be just another realm where I feel inadequate, and judged to be falling, well, just a bit short in the perfection category.
As I rolled out the crust, I couldn't help thinking of my many grandmothers, and the numerous pies they must have made in Iowa kitchens and Chicago apartments. They didn't worry about Martha Stewart or what the neighbors thought. Granted, they probably had much more experience, and guidance, in the pie making realm than me. But I don't want dessert preparation to be about doing it "right" and striving for "perfection." I want it to connect me to my grandmothers and to my son. I want it to taste delicious and look just a little bit out of control.