distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Lessons in Pie-Making

I made a pie last night. Well, I tried. It was brown-sugar-cream pie, a simple enough recipe: you mix up sugar and whatever else in a pot, you pour it in a pre-made pie shell, you bake, you pull pie out of the oven without dropping it, you eat. Not so!

I trudged out into the falling snow to get the ingredients, but the pie ending up not fully setting, even after an entire night cooling in the fridge. And it also has a weird floury aftertaste, so I wonder if I accidentally used the 1/3 measuring scoop instead of the 1/4. I dunno.

Anyway, the pie was an utter failure. E loves pie, so he was very determined to enjoy it this morning. He tried. He found, if he eats the goop just around the crust, it sort of does seem like custard. I appreciate his dedication, but he could get sick and I think I should throw it out when he’s not looking.

My thoughts about making pie are this: It’s not as easy as it may seem. But you know what? Writing is far, far harder. I mean how many times have you spent all this time and careful energy crafting a piece of fiction only to discover that it’s actually flat, or jiggles funny, or tastes off, or explodes all over your oven? For me, countless times. Writing something good is the real hurdle. Making an edible pie? I will do it right, I can. I’m trying again next week.


8 responses to “Lessons in Pie-Making”

  1. I’ve always thought the saying, easy as pie, was a misnomer. There are valid reasons to use pie as a metaphor for writing: you need a solid crust to hold the ingredients together, use fresh good ingredients, carefully measure said ingredients, season it just right (and depending on the kind of pie) Then bake it and maybe, just maybe, if you time the baking perfectly, the pie will be wonderful and if you can find someone to eat it? Hooray! Okay, I may have stretched it just as far as it can go. : ) Bread making metaphor anyone?
    Writing is a mixture of so many ingredients, not the least of which is perseverance.
    I’m wishing you many very edible pies.

  2. I applaud you for treading new ground and being adventurous! To be honest, as a writer, I appreciate a failed pie better than a successful pie–a failed pie makes a MUCH better story.

    But I will help you make a successful pie. Because I love happy endings. 🙂 And yes–very few people make a perfect pie on their first try, just as writers tend to NEVER want to talk about teh first story they’ve written, and novelists rarely publish the first novel they’ve written.

    Also–don’t fault yourself too much! It may have been a bad recipe.

    P.s. custard pies can be tricky. maybe add more egg or up the baking time and/or temp (if the part around the crust (the place the pie would be hottest in the oven) was the most decent, i am guessing it might be a bake time or temperature issue). i don’t think the difference in flour will make much difference.

  3. custard pies can be tough…i have much less trouble with fruit pies. Sam loves milk tarts and cream pies so I leave those to him! It could also be your oven. I mean, I blame LOTS on my oven!

  4. I bake lots of pies but I’m a crummy writer, so I agree, writing is much more challenging than pie-baking.

    If you are after custard pie, I suggest using Jello French Vanilla Pudding mix instead of making your own custard. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results without much effort.

  5. At least there are specific directions for making pie, and the ingredients usually aren’t too hard to come by. With practice, pies are usually successful. Novels? That’s still up for debate, but it depends on the “baker”.

  6. I’m impressed with your pie even though it didn’t work out too well. I can’t even get it right when I make a pie with a Jello chocolate pudding base!

  7. As a good pie-maker and an amateur writer, I agree that writing is a bigger hurdle! Writing about pie may be cheating, but it plays to my strengths! Good luck with your next pie!!

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