Foodstuff: On the Matter of Pie (Part the Second)

How Not To Grow A Beard: Day 20
Yesterday’s discourse on the virtue of pie was a bit of a bait and switch, and for that I apologize. My original intent was to extol the virtue of several pies that—though they cannot compete in any realistic sense with the culinary perfection of a properly-prepared pumpkin pie—I enjoy a great deal. Unfortunately, I ran out of time.

The first hurdle faced when engaging in a serious discussion of pie is one of classification. While I touched on the distinction between dessert and non-dessert pies yesterday, the problem of classification is incredibly complex, even if we limit ourselves to only dessert pies.

At first blush, it seems a simple matter to separate pies into three categories: fruit, berry and custard. However, this immediately leads to questions as to how pumpkin pie is classified, as it is both a fruit and a custard pie. We have also entirely failed to take into account cream pies, such as those originating in Boston, but the introduction of a fourth category leads to even further confusion as the proper classification of the banana cream pie becomes an issue. Confusion abounds and we’ve yet to touch on the pseudo-pies, those whose crusts are filled with pudding or mousse.

Allowing for hybrid pies goes a long way toward making more precise classification possible (e.g. strawberry-rhubarb is both a berry and a fruit pieSort of.), but berry enthusiasts will undoubtedly claim the strawberry contributes more to the flavor, texture, and overall enjoyment of the pie. That anyone who would make such a claim is clearly batshit crazy is completely irrelevant to the discussion, but does paint a fairly accurate portrait of the average berry pie fanatic.

Unfortunately, even in the example above, there is room for argument. Rhubarb is not a fruit; it is only classified as such because of how it is eaten. Now before the vegetable contingent pipes up on the matter, let me say this: rhubarb isn’t a vegetable, either, so shut your pie holes. Rhubarb is an herb.

Let me repeat that: rhubarb is an herb. We haven’t even gotten to sweet potato pieRoot vegetables? Do we really need to go there? yet and already we’ve got to take herbs into consideration. It boggles the mind.

So far we’ve got fruit, berryYes, I realize that berries are technically fruits. But not all fruits are berries, so they’re different, okay? Let it go, will ya? This is hard enough without you nitpicking every damn thing I say., vegetable, herb, custard, cream, pudding and mousse.

And nut. Damn pecans.

Am I forgetting any?

7 thoughts on “Foodstuff: On the Matter of Pie (Part the Second)”

  1. What about Mince Pie. It has meat, but it also has fruits in it. And Shepard’s Pie? It’s more in the line of Chicken Pot Pie, but its not as much of a bastard as the Chicken variety.

  2. A personal favorite of mine is Peanut Butter Banana, with an Oreo crust.

    Oh, the fusion of nut and fruit and pie!

    Ah, the crazy New Wave pies, created by aging hippies as the last remnants of mind-altering pharmaceuticals work their twisted, psychotropic magic.

    You’ve got your cookie in my pie.

    You’ve got your pie in my cookie.

    You’ve got a blood-red eyeball on the back of your head, man.

  3. What about Mince Pie. It has meat, but it also has fruits in it. And Shepard’s Pie? It’s more in the line of Chicken Pot Pie, but its not as much of a bastard as the Chicken variety.

    I’ll give you mince pie, though modern varieties really don’t have meat in them anymore (so sayeth Wikipedia, so mote it be). Nonetheless, out of deference to tradition, “meat pies” shall be added to the list of classifications, but only those meat pies that qualify as dessert pies.

    The shepherd’s pie, on the other hand, falls well out of the “dessert pie” realm. Were we to engage in a dialog about shepherd’s pie, it would inevitably degenerate into a comparison with the pasty, and no good can possibly come of that. Best to let sleeping dogs lie.

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