Week #4–The Pie Project

During week #4 there were a couple of options for my Fabulous Project. I saw GOOD PEOPLE at the Huntington Theatre Company–a wonderful show. Had a couple of meals with friends. But the winner? I started my Pie Project.

Over Labor Day weekend my nieces spent an overnight. The next morning we baked scones. Since they are almost ten, baking is more active and less passive than it used to be. We talk about measurements, and the importance of cutting butter into dough correctly, and the value of the pastry cutter to do just that. I talked about my grandmother, and how she passed down recipes. I showed them one of them, a well worn recipe card with a yellowed recipe from “Confidential Chat”, annotated by Grandma. She always “fixed” recipes. “Add more cocoa”, “use half butter, half Crisco”, “may need more milk, but be careful”, “increase cooking time”, “decrease temperature for the last half hour” and on and on.

While we were mixing, I talked about Grandma’s pies. My father loved her pies (she was his mother-in-law, so this was an earned love), especially her apple pie. I can replicate it–or come very close. My father asks that I make the Christmas pies, which I do.

“Is is a secret recipe?”

“No, not a secret. I’ll show you some time.”


And so the Pie Project was born. We decided that during this school year we would get together and make a different pie every month. And since we visited my parents over the weekend, and the girls had gone apple picking the prior weekend, we decided to start with Grandma’s specialty. Apple pie.

Baking a pie is a great opportunity for conversation. We talked about math. We talked about chopping v. slicing v. mincing. We talked about Grandma. And we talked about spice. And in between we caught up on school, friends, fourth grade fashion, and curly v. straight hair. And I told them the secret. 2t of cinnamon and 1/2 t nutmeg. Overspice the apples.

The pie was great. But baking the pie? Fabulous.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. You are rich in just the right kind of girl talk!


  2. blue lotus says:

    I have read your articles in ‘sisters in crime’ and I like them very much. I too want to write like you.


  3. Ruth says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! So fabulous, Julie. And you know this is the story the girls will share with their own kids…or nieces. Great idea!

    And I so love the question, “When?” It’s capturing these interests with “Now!” that makes all the difference.

    Love, love, love!!



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