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Sheila Herrmann: Celebrating holiday is as easy as pie

“To me, pie is poetry that makes the world a better place.”

– Ken Haedrich

It’s hard to say exactly how long Pie Day has been around. I’m guessing about 20 years. I think it started when the kids were 7 or 8. It was a typical Friday after Thanksgiving, and, not being much for shopping, we were having our usual leisurely morning. The kids were eating cereal and watching cartoons while I made a pot of coffee.

The bedlam started when my husband strolled into the family room, cup of coffee in one hand and in the other, a plate bearing a gigantic slab of apple pie. The kids glanced over perfunctorily, did a double-take and, as their eyes widened, they began to shriek in unison. You’d think a crime had been committed. “What! What is that? Is that pie? Are you eating pie for breakfast? Mom? Can he do that? Can he have pie for breakfast? Is that allowed? Can we have pie? Huh? Can we? Can we? Pleeease?”

I shot Joe an icy glare. He shrugged and commented that it was really no different than eating a Danish, and besides, didn’t we know what day it was? The kids answered “Friday,” only to be told, “No, it isn’t Friday; it’s Pie Day.” What’s a mom to do? I sighed and grabbed a fork.

Let’s face it. Pie, as marvelous as it is, gets a raw deal. It’s sort of the bridesmaid of the Thanksgiving feast. The undisputed star of the day is Grandpa Mac’s stuffing – a heavenly, artery-clogging concoction that involves multiple sticks of butter as well as bacon and sausage. (Hey, it’s only once a year). Then there’s the turkey itself, and the side dishes, including a sweet potato casserole that tastes kind of like pie. After such a feast, who has room to do justice to the noble pies?

To provide a much-needed break the Wishbone Classic was born – a fiercely competitive family air hockey tournament that involves a complicated bracket system and serves as intermission between dinner and dessert.

Still, the focus always seems to be on the entrée and side dishes, with the pies bringing up the rear.

I have such wonderful memories of the holidays of my childhood. My parents never failed to make those days special for our large family. Through the years, we’ve managed to combine and continue the traditions of both families while adding a few of our own. Pie Day gives us another opportunity to spend time with loved ones while enjoying pie as the star of the day.

The Pie Day dress code is ultra casual: pajama pants, sweatpants, hoodies, slippers, etc. The menu: pie. All day long. Apple, pumpkin, cherry, chocolate mousse, peach, maybe mincemeat for the more adventurous. Whipped cream/ice cream on the side, as well as cheddar cheese to accompany the apple pie (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). It’s starting to rival Thanksgiving as my favorite day of the year.

Several years ago, some family members were discussing Pie Day on social media when my cousin Jack chimed in that he would drive nearly a thousand miles to attend Pie Day. (Shyster – he was already coming to town for the Turkey Trot.)

Pie Day grew bigger and better, and last year nearly 40 relatives made time for us on their holiday weekend. We laughed, reminisced, shed a couple tears and traded pie recipe secrets. This year’s promises to be another rousing success. Happy Pie Day, everyone.