I made a pie today. I woke up late, glazed-eyed, and briefly considered staying in bed and watching Downton Abbey at least until the last episode of the second season, when Matthew and Mary kiss and smile and look to be together forever. And then I thought that perhaps it might be better to get up and contribute to the world. So, I made a pie.
Bright blue sweatpants drawstringed securely around waist, sleeves rolled up, hair braided back but still flopping forward in the bangs department, I made a pie. The cherries for it were picked by my mom and my dad and sometimes my sister. Even the dog snapped cherries off the ground and off lower branches, crushing them between her teeth and eventually looking like a killer with bloodstained muzzle. I helped pick until the mosquitos discovered me and tucked in for a feast.
I’ve always been intimidated by pie making. The forming of the crust seemed a particular challenge. So much can go wrong: dough too sticky from excess liquid, dough too rubbery from excess flour, dough too thin from over-zealous rolling, dough too thick from hesitant rolling. In the end, I took a few deep breaths, fumbled with floury fingers to the “pie” section of The Joy of Cooking, and just did what the dear authors told me to do.
I poured the fresh-picked cherries into the bottom crust. I briefly considered making a lattice top, and then determined a lattice top to be a bit out of my league. I put on the top crust, trimmed the excess skirt of dough, and used two fingers and a thumb to crimp the edges together. Then I carefully made tents of tinfoil so the crimps wouldn’t burn. I pushed the pie into the oven. I waited for almost an hour. And there was a pie.
And I felt, as I was making it, a little like this:
As if all could be right, all was right, as long as I was quietly turning fruit and flour into pastry. And as long as I had my bird friends to help me with aesthetics.