As Simple as Apple Pie

by Brad Nelson9/19/16

There’s an old abandoned orchard deep in the woods where I regularly hike. It contains apples from four different kinds of apple trees. The apples fall to the ground and generally go to waste. It doesn’t seem the deer even eat them. I’ll often grab a couple to eat while hiking or biking.

Recently I decided to fill up my backpack with one of the varieties that looked suitable for the the making of an apple pie. I’m not sure what kind of apples these are. If anyone can tell what type from the photo, let me know. I’m curious.  (Click on the photo for full size in case that helps.) I hope to go back and get more of them. Does anyone know how best to store them, perhaps to keep good for a couple months?

As for the apple pie recipe, I looked around the web and settled on this one by Pillsbury.

I like that the recipe doesn’t include 1/4 cup of butter as many recipes do or require heating a few things first. (Yes, I know that butter, much like bacon, makes everything better.) This recipe is simple and it turned out well, althoughunknown-apple I think I’ll reduce the cinnamon a little. The only change I made to the recipe was substituting Truvia for the sugar (worked well…always works well in baked good) plus I added two tablespoons of brown sugar. This seemed about right. The slight tartness of the apples was still in evidence but nicely pacified by the sugar.

I used a Pillsbury pre-made frozen crust…one that comes already in a pie tin. Yes, I’ll surely lose the Betty Crocker award for not making my own pie crust. But this was just a first-go around. As it was, I thought the pie crust was a bit mediocre. I’m soliciting opinions on either a better pre-made dough (doesn’t have to be frozen and in a pie tin already…in a tube is okay) or a recipe from scratch.

Also, aside from perhaps a wedge of cheddar cheese or a dollop of vanilla ice cream, what would you recommend adding to this pie recipe?

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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154 Responses to As Simple as Apple Pie

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I should also point out that I cooked this on my Black and Decker Countertop Convection Oven. Other than having a front door that really really needs a counterbalance or springs, I’m very pleased with it. Maybe a review to follow some day.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    aside from perhaps a wedge of cheddar cheese or a dollop of vanilla ice cream, what would you recommend adding to this pie recipe?


    • Rosalys says:

      I agree. It doesn’t have to be 1/4 cup; any recipe I’ve ever seen calls for 2 Tbls. Once, I forgot to put the butter in, and so I know from experience that the butter makes a difference.

      The most important ingredient for a good apple pie is GOOD FLAVORFUL APPLES! This sounds like a no brainer, but it is the reason why I don’t buy commercial apple pies. Their apples are tasteless and they cover it up with way too much sugar. I have tried making a pie with bland apples, and no amount of adjusting, adding lemon or anything else, can make up for the fact that the apples just don’t have any flavor; you just end up with a something that tastes like slightly apple flavored sugar.

      I always taste my apples when I’m slicing them, and adjust the sugar accordingly. I rarely use more than 2/3 cup sugar total, going half and half with brown sugar. Often I use less. Just enough to enhance and bring out the good apple-y flavor.

      I used a whole cup and a half of sugar once. I had bought a bag of apples to put in the kids’ lunches. They came home with them still in their lunch bags several days in a row, and so I asked them why they weren’t eating them. They said they were kind of sour. I tried one and, o-o-o boy! were they tart! They were so devoid of any sweetness that my hands weren’t sticky after cutting them up! But there was a lot of latent apple flavor there, because that was the best apple pie I ever made! I also like my fruit a little tart.

      And here is a tip I learned I learned from my daughter – add 1/4 tsp. of cardamom.

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    I have no memory of eating home-made apple pie, though I’m sure it must have happened. I do remember my mother cooking chess pies, if only because they’re impossible to find now. We also had some sort of meringue pie, which no doubt affected our parody of the song “Please Mr. Custer” (“Please, Mr. Custard, I don’t want meringue”). Our parents never said what they thought of us children singing this on our trips through Greece.

    It’s possible the apple is a Granny Smith. Those are tart, and also very firm (they don’t bruise easily, and seem to resist cockroach attacks pretty well), and are usually green though there may be some reddening. (I eat them regularly at lunch, which usually starts with fruit.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I Googled-imaged for “Granny Smith” and they were all green with no red. Upon further searching (I found a chart while looking for “Granny Smith”), it may be a Jonagold.

  4. Gibblet says:

    My Mom makes an excellent pie crust, which she thought she taught me. I’m still traumatized by the experience of flying solo, however, and had to go to my safe place before I cleaned up the floury mess in my baking center. So, if I have to bake a pie I buy the pre-made Pillsbury dough in the flat box, or I call my Mom. If I peel, she will bake! Otherwise, I stick to muffins, because it’s really hard to make an ugly muffin.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      LOL. So very very true. Baking is a messy art. I may try the pre-made dough in the flat box just to see. Then I can make those pretty “weaved” top crusts.

      My pie is so light, I had two pieces for lunch. But something tells me this Apple Bourbon Pie with Raisins and Pecans is a little filling. Holy Crocker, just saying it has caloric implications. Raisins. Bourbon. Pecans (1/2 cup chopped). Buttermilk. At least the have the good sense to leave out the 1/4 cup unsalted butter. Actually, I might try a variation on this. I think a few pecans would be just the thing. I thought about adding a few pecan pieces to the pie I just made but wasn’t sure if they would come out mushy. Apparently they won’t, especially if toasted first as this recipe recommends.

      I ran into one recipe that uses allspice. I use a little of that in my stews. I’m not sure that wouldn’t be a little overpowering in an apple pie. This recipe also uses 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. So along with a few pecans, I might try a dash or two of vanilla.

      There’s even a mock apple pie. Anyone ever heard of that? You can make them with Ritz crackers. Mmm. Yummy. I might prefer Cheez-Its though.

      • Gibblet says:

        That Apple Bourbon Pie looks and sounds so good. I would use golden raisins because I don’t like the black raisins. I’m a raisin racist. I’m okay with a white crust though, so that proves it. And bourbon with pie? Why not? Make mine a double (humor font, for those who can’t tell).

        Back in another galaxy far far away, before I knew I was allergic to dairy, I often made pecan pie (with lots of butter, KFZ!). And, since it wasn’t sweet enough with all that corn syrup, I would put a layer of chocolate chips in the bottom of the pie crust before I poured the hot filling in. It was a light pie also, so I probably had a second piece too, for breakfast.

        Have fun baking, Brad. I’ll make an apron for you that says, “I’m not a phony pie maker” – just don’t wear it when you make the Mock Apple Pie.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Gibblet, you crack me up. You are second to no one in terms of tongue-in-cheek humorous and delightful writing.

          FYI, I found a frozen “Maria Callender” brand of pie crust (pre-molded into a tin). I’m going to give that try. I’ll skip the brandy (and Ritz crackers for the mock version) this time. But I’m definitely adding a few toasted pecans (very few) and a touch of vanilla. Will report back soon.

          I peddled out to the Haunted Abandoned Orchard last night and grabbed a backpack’s full of apples…and a few stuffed into my pockets for good measure. I was a bit top-heavy on my bicycle but made it back no problem.

          • Gibblet says:

            That apple you found looks tasty. Apples are so expensive any more that it’s good when you can harvest your own (or some haunted ones).

            My friend Laura makes an awesome pie crust using almond meal. It’s more like a nutty cookie. With the price of almond meal, having a free source of apples would balance out the cost a bit. Top the pie with the crumbly stuff and some pecans, and I’d drive an hour for a piece. Or two.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I know what you mean about the cost of apples, having paid nearly $5 for a bag of Granny Smiths last Saturday.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Laura is sure welcome to come by during working hours here and I’lll give her some of my mystery apples.

            • Rosalys says:

              I expect apples to be very expensive this year, especially here in the northeast. Our late winter and the early spring was very warm and coaxed the trees to bud early. Then we had a cold snap, of only one or two nights, where it got well below freezing, and it killed all the buds. The trees recovered and bloomed again; but then, a few weeks later, we got another night below freezing and all the buds fell off for a second time, and that was it. I’ve seen apple trees all over with nary an apple on them.

              Cherish those wild apples of yours!

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                It wouldn’t be impossible to send you some.

              • Rosalys says:

                Thanks, Brad. But with the cost of postage these days – which has risen astronomically in recent years – those apples just may turn out to be the most expensive apples on Earth!

                Apples are going for $1.49 to $1.79 in the market, depending on the variety. (Some of them were called “local,” so not everybody’s apple crop was destroyed. Maybe they used smudge pots?) That’s a little higher than last year, but not too bad. Besides, if I’m making a pie, I usually get them from the mark down shelf. Or I wait for a sale. My local chain market generally has an “apple-rama” every year about this time.

                All this talk about apples is making me hungry for a German Apple Pancake!

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Well, it was a thought, Rosalys. Perhaps it would be better to send the finished pie. When winter hits, that would seem to be a doable thing if the shipping is a bit expedited. I would think a pie might withstand a few days shipping, especially in cold trucks and warehouses (or at least not sweltering hot ones). What do you think?

                Not that you need my pie. It’s clearly the opposite. [Micro-Aggression Alert. Brad is assuming that because Rosalys is a woman, she is a better cook. Even if he is basing this on the fact that he has only three pies under his apron, it’s still clearly a sexist comment. Despite being a woman, it must be acknowledged that she could be a bad cook. However, if you actually assume that Rosalys is a bad cook, then you’re guilty of some other type of sexism. On the other hand, if you assume she’s an equal cook, then you’re definitely a chauvinist for not kowtowing to implicit feminine superiority in all things.]

                Gee…and I thought talking about apple pie would be simple. Anyway, I’d love a sample of your pie and vice-versa if we can figure out the logistics.

              • Rosalys says:

                Perhaps we should all meet somewhere in the middle of the country and hold the Great Stubborn Things Apple Pie Bake Off.

                Whatever gave you the idea that apple pie was simple? And don’t you know that any subject, no matter how benign can be made controversial?

                Especially Tim, and his talking about his roach filled apples! That kind of creeped me out! (Though I understand they are a good source of protein.)

      • Rosalys says:

        The nuts won’t come out mushy in the baking. I’ve used walnuts in the past and without toasting.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Thank you very much for reporting on that, Rosalys. Any step (such as toasting) that can be bypassed makes it much more likely I’ll bake a pie or two now and then. Walnuts sound good as well. In fact, why not a little of both?

    • Rosalys says:

      The problem I’ve had with homemade pie crust is that, in order to get that nice flakiness, you mustn’t add too much water or over handle the dough; but then I always had trouble getting the dough to hold together enough to roll it out without it falling apart. I only achieved making a perfect crust once using this method, and have often resorted to the same pre-made Pillsbury dough in the flat box. Then I found a wonderful tip on the internet – add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water when mixing your dough. The vinegar retards the development of the gluten, so you can add a little more water and it will hold together without becoming tough. Also, I hope you are not using the two knife method of working the fat into the dough. I used that one for too many years before buying myself a pastry blender. A pastry blender makes all the difference in the world! And they are inexpensive. Making pie crust is now easy and nothing to be afraid of, and it is both cheaper, and better tasting – although, sometimes I still buy the Pillsbury dough to save time.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I’ll certainly keep in mind the pastry blender, Rosalys. I’ve always heard that making pie crusts is not as simple as you might think. (And I feel a little less stupid for using the pre-made variety.) Also…would such a pastry blender also be could for making homemade noodles?

  5. Rosalys says:

    Honeycrisp or Gala?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      These apples probably will ripen up (and redden up) a little more. They could be a Gala. They certainly look quite similar. And according to Wiki they are the second most poplar apple in the U.S., right after Red Delicious, so it’s certainly a very good guess because of this factor.

      A Honeycrisp is also a reasonable guess. Again, the apples on the tree do not have as much red. But maybe they will redden further. I’m not sure what time of the year these apples fully ripen. Is there an at-home DNA test you can do?

  6. Gibblet says:

    “Does anyone know how best to store them, perhaps to keep good for a couple months?”

    My Grandmother kept a 1950’s refrigerator out in their garage to store apples in. She kept it cool, but not cold. The apple skins would get a little wrinkled from dehydration, but the apples kept well otherwise and made great applesauce and pies.

    When we went to stay at their house, Gramma would make animal pancakes for breakfast on the griddle of her neat old stove. I’ll write a story about Gramma someday. And Grandpa (aka Shortfellow) – I think I got my poetry from him. They met during the apple harvest in Eastern Washington about 100 years ago!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Gibblet. As it happens, I have a spare refrigerator at my disposal. I will set it to about #3 (on the low side) and store them there. That sounds like a great plan. There could be a pie in your future.

      • Gibblet says:

        Oh, that it could be so!

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Read Annie’s latest article. There’s no telling if it would just be a whipping cream pie delivered clown-style. 😀 But I do hope to put out a few pies. I’m going to stock up on some more apples next time I go out. I just hate to see them go to waste.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I tried the Marie Callender’s frozen pre-made pie crusts and found the flavor bland. In addition, the crust had a tendency to stick to the pan.

    Although I thought the Pillsbury product was a bit to “Crico-y,” if you catch my drift, it was far more flavorful and reminiscent of a classic crust. I’m still messing with the recipe to find the best balance of ingredients. The ingredient list above is way too sweet for my taste, plus for these pre-made pie shells it takes only 4 apples.

    I’m on my fourth pie now. It’s cooling even as we speak. It has 12 pecan halves (chopped) in it, as well as 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

    Here’s a review of 7 frozen pie crust brands.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’ve cut the sugar down to four tablespoons of Truvia (natural sugar substitute) and one tablespoon of brown sugar. I think I’ve got the sweetness about right. I don’t mind a little tartness of the apples sparkling through.

    The pecans are a nice touch and I wouldn’t add more than about a dozen half pieces.

    The baking instructions call for 40-45 minutes at 425 degrees. I did this last batch at 45 minutes and the apples still taste just a tad green. I’ll do 50 next time and cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil so as not to over-brown them.

    I can’t say for sure whether or not the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla is a plus or minus or even that noticeable. I’d rather remove it and try about a 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves which I’ll do next time…hopefully with the Trader Joe’s dough. I can just eat a couple pieces out of a pie for a test and give away the rest.

    But this one isn’t bad. But the Pillsbury pie crust has to go. It’s (as that one review said) more of a tart crust. And it has just a certain taste that is hard to place. It’s not altogether unpleasant but it doesn’t seem to work as a pie crust.

  9. Anniel says:


    You might consider 1/2 tsp. Almond extract in your next apple pie. Our family likes it a lot.

    • Gibblet says:

      And remember Rosalys recommended 1/4 tsp of cardamom. It would go very well with the cinnamon in another test pie.
      I’m looking forward to the test results for the TJoe crust. I haven’t found anything there I don’t like – but, of course all my choices have to be non-dairy so I can keep breathing. My most recent decadence is their Nutty Bits (nuts and chocolate!).
      Bake on!

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Thanks, I had completely forgotten about the cardamom. I will try the almond extract (thanks, Annie!) and/or the 1/4 teaspoon of clove first.

        I went to Trader Joe’s last night and picked up some of their pie dough. I will definitely report back when I’ve had a chance to try it. I’ve got a nice clear-glass Pyrex baking dish for the dough. Any suggestions on what to coat it with to keep the dough from sticking? I’ve got some spray-on Pam. Will that work?

        • Gibblet says:

          I wouldn’t use oil, I think that will make it stick worse. I would try to dust the bottom side of the dough with flour. Also, glass gets hotter than metal or pottery, which may be why the dough sticks.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Okie doke. Thanks. I’ll dust liberally (in the good sense of the word) with flour.

            • Gibblet says:

              In all things, even baking, conservative is usually better.
              You might want to consider building a worm bin for your fruit and veggie scraps. Worm castings are excellent for the garden!

  10. Lucia says:

    Since the orchard is old, I would consider researching old varieties only. Pie apples need to be slightly tart, which is why I planted Granny Smith for apple pies. Due to our diets, I don’t make pies anymore, but I’ve found the apples are edible once they have ripened nearly to extinction towards the end of winter. The storage apples I planted in our garden are Fuji, which are sweet even when still under ripe and heavenly once fully ripe. They are called a dessert apple and don’t make good pies, but they cook up into apple sauce well without adding sugar. This year I plan to dehydrate some. I store all the apples in boxes out under the carport unless the nights gets well below freezing for any length of time. I have to store them separate from where I store potatoes because the gasses in the peeling will cause potatoes to bud.

    Apple crusts flake up easier when chilled first in the ‘frig before baking. A tip from Joy of Cooking.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I eat regular Granny Smiths. I like the tartness, and I insist on the firmness — a mushy apple is unacceptable. They also don’t bruise much. Elizabeth goes for Jonathan apples, but they’re sufficiently vulnerable to roaches that she has to refrigerate them (which isn’t necessary with Granny Smiths).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yes, a mushy apple in unacceptable. And it’s damn hard to find a crisp red delicious west of Eastern Washington. I think they ship the good ones off to Japan and/or keep them in cold storage for too long. But this year the red delicious apples at the local supermarket were firm (for a red delicious) and crisp. Wow. My younger brother discovered this. I had long ago foregone buying red delicious apples. Oh, they certainly seem firm on the outside but you buy them and bring them home and they’re usually all mushy. And we’re known in Washington for producing apples. The irony of it.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Many years ago, Rush discussed an economist’s explanation for why the best oranges are found in New York, not Florida. Basically, the price differential between best and worst is almost irrelevant once the cost of sending them a great distance is tacked on.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          And it’s damn hard to find a crisp red delicious west of Eastern Washington.

          When I was a boy, my grandfather would send us a case of Red Delicious apples from Washington and a case if citrus fruit from South Texas, for Christmas.

          Red Delicious are still my favorite apples.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            That’s what was going on. We were sending all the good apples to the damn Texans. Oh well. I guess we get the best of their beef so no beef here.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      My elder brother said the same thing, Lucia. He said it’s likely an older variety of tree.

      And thanks for the confirmation of what kind of apple to use. These are certainly on the tart side. And I’ve never minded eating a tart apple just for fun.

      One question that popped up is if there is anything useful you can do with the apple peels besides just adding to the compost pile (which I don’t have).

      And I’ve heard about the wisdom of not storing apples where there are potatoes because the gasses the potatoes give off tend to rot the apples. Who have thunk?

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Interestingly, the stool on which I place my Granny Smiths is also where we keep potatoes, though it’s been a while. I never noticed any effect on the apples.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Probably takes mass quantities combined with longer-term storage to have an effect.

          Here’s an article about the beneficial effects of storing potatoes with apples: it keeps the potatoes from sprouting. Supposedly. It says that apples cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen too quickly. But in this case, it’s about using a few sacrificial apples to mollify the potatoes.

          • Lucia says:

            The article is bunk. All my books say not to do it and my experience confirms that. Potatoes will bud if they don’t have plenty of air circulation, absolute darkness and constant temperature between 38 and 48 degrees. I store my seed potatoes in a paper bag in the back of my refrigerator and they keep for several months. Most home stored potatoes will begin to sprout within the time frame that they would normally mature in the garden. Early potatoes will sprout in 90 days, late potatoes in 100 days, etc.

            Why don’t you use your apple peels for mulch in your garden? Add them to the soil with coffee grounds as an amenity for next year’s plant. I feed the ravens the apple cores. Jays love them too.

            • Rosalys says:

              “Why don’t you use your apple peels for mulch in your garden?”

              Absolutely! Adding any leftover organic material to your garden will improve and replenish it. That’s what mother nature does, under the direction of her Creator!

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        One question that popped up is if there is anything useful you can do with the apple peels besides just adding to the compost pile (which I don’t have)

        Slop hogs. They love um.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Enough with the Hillary jokes. Geez. I hate it when you guys mix politics with everything else. Except when I’m doing it, of course. 😀

          I’m not sure hogs are a practical item where I’m at. And if I did, they’d probably run out and vote Democrat anyway.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          When I eat apples directly (and that’s the only way we use them), I don’t peel them. I toss the core in the trash. We don’t have any animals to feed (and when we did, we had cats).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            When we were kids, we’d eat the core, the seeds…everything but the stems, and even then we’d often chew on them for a while.

            When I make mashed potatoes, I never bother to remove the peals (although I usually make them with a thinner-pealed potato such as a red potato). I wonder if it would work to leave the peals on the Apple for apple pie?

            • Timothy Lane says:

              As I recall from Cheaper by the Dozen, Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr. ate apples that way — straight from one end to the other, including the core. No doubt he found it more efficient.

            • Rosalys says:

              Apple skins don’t really soften up when baked. They get kind of leathery, the way tomato skins do when cooked, so it’s best to remove them. I always leave the skins on when I make peach pie, though.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Okie doke. And when I find some abandoned peach trees in the woods, I’ll go…err…hog wild making peach pies. But peaches don’t grow well in Western Washington.

      • Gibblet says:

        “anything useful you can do with the apple peels ”

        Worm bin!

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I vaguely remember my mother perhaps baking a few with cinnamon and sugar on top. But is that a false memory, something I saw June Cleaver do on TV instead? The memory blurs…which is just as well for some things. 😀

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        One question that popped up is if there is anything useful you can do with the apple peels besides just adding to the compost pile (which I don’t have).

        I have just heard of another use. And since you seem to be in baking mode, this one could be very appropriate. It is to make a sour-dough starter yeast with apple peels. Apparently, apple peels have naturally occurring yeast in them.

        I saw this being done on a cooking show just now. I think you can find the details at “”.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Sounds good, Mr. Kung. When interest peaks, we shall have a bread-making thread. I’m sure I’d want to buy a bread-making (dough-making, that is) machine of some kind if I get on a bread-making kick (which sounds like fun…I love sourdough bread).

  11. Lucia says:

    My mother-in-law likes to eat Granny Smiths. The biggest threat to our stored apples are foxes. They love ripe apples so I have to watch for tiny teeth marks on the skins and make sure I discard those areas. I don’t mind sharing my apples but I don’t want to catch rabies….

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Occasionally the roaches will get to an apple, usually by way of a pit that breaks the skin (which is too much for them, at least with Granny Smiths). In one recent example, which I had known was roach-ridden for several days, they just about completely ate out the inside. Usually I get them before it goes that far. We cut out those sections, occasionally disturbing roach nests.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’ve found a couple worms, ear wigs (or whatever they are), and lots and lots of scabs on the apples. I don’t take the really bad ones but most of the bad bits can be cut off. I think being in cold storage inside a refrigerator is certainly going to keep the foxes (foxes!!) at bay.

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    We’re going to call this next one the Tri Apple Pie. It’s a mixture of cinnamon, clover, and almond extract. It’s baking even as we speak.

    I’m testing it inside a Safeway “Signature” brand frozen crust. The “signature” may be counterfeit though. This looks a lot like the Pillsbury frozen crust, re-branded. Time (and tasting) will tell.

    In this one I lowered the cinnamon a bit and put in an anti-heaping 1/4 teaspoon of almond extra and an anti-heaping 1/4 teaspoon of clove. We’ll see if this is too much. Something tells me 1/8 teaspoon of each would have been plenty. But I’m still experimenting. I also bought some strawberry extract to try in a future pie.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Addendum: The Safeway “signature” pie crust was horrible. It turned out somewhat tasteless. But more than anything it baked up hard.

      And I don’t think I’ll do cloves anymore. It was a nice experiment but even a small amount sort of drowns out the apples instead of complimenting them. I may do the almond extra on its own next time.

      I went out yesterday and grabbed some more apples….13-1/2 pounds. That’s a lot of apples to carry in a backpack, I can tell you.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        And I don’t think I’ll do cloves anymore

        The best use of cloves is in mulled wine.

        As to apples, don’t peel them. Use them to make cider and go wassailing. It will be Christmas before you know it.

        • Anniel says:

          Here we come awassailing . . . Can hardly wait.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Wassail, Wassail all over the town,
            Our bread it is white and our ale it is brown,
            Our bowl it is made from the green maple tree,
            From the Wassail bowl we’ll sing unto to thee.”

            Or something along those lines.

            I learned this song almost fifty years ago in high school choir. I always liked it. The tune is very catchy and as someone who loves history, the fact that this was sung during the high Middle Ages was neato.

            • Anniel says:

              …”Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too.” I looked up apple cider recipes just for fun. Indeed it is easy to make. Tomorrow when Bear returns from a trip we’ll have to make some just so the house smells good, and cider is great.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I like the line “our bread it is white and our ale it is brown.”

                Today, when people talk about “white bread” they generally think about the cheap bread in grocery stores. But in the Middle ages, white bread was only for the wealthy or very special occasions. Dark bread, which is considered better today, was thought to be inferior and was for the plebs.

                As to good brown ale, well the darker the better.

                I hope you and Bear enjoy the apple cider. We just had a cold snap, it is only 61-62 degrees here, so a good warm cider would be welcome.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              People tend to prefer the flavor of white bread to whole grain. And in the Middle Ages, they were unaware of how much nutrition they sacrificed by removing the wheat germ.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I’ve had visions of cider dancing in my head as well, Mr. Kung…not that I know the first thing about making it. But I’m sure a good recipe could be found. I’ll have to get some more apples and prepare a batch for Halloween if not before then. If someone has a just KILLER cider recipe, send it in and with some commentary and I’ll post it in the Health and Fitness section and we’ll talk cider.

          And that’s a subject I don’t know the first thing about. Do you first need to find three or four virgins to stamp on the apples to extract the juices? I’m not sure of the finer techniques in this regard. Or maybe that’s regarding grapes.

          • Gibblet says:

            This is how we made apple “cider” when I was a kid: First, give your apples a bath. Then cut off any icky parts of the apples, and quarter the remainder. Fill your cider press (like the one your dear brother uses to squish grapes) with apples…..and squeeze out the juice.
            Once you have juice, it can be enjoyed right away, or fermented, or simmered with spices and/or other fruit (oranges). Definitely worth the effort!
            Wait a minute…….there might have been a grinding step, after the quartering……….I’ll have to ask my Parents. Or I might be confusing it with processing grapes. But, for sure there was a party – I remember the fun.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              I definitely think serving it spiced (and hot) would be the way to go. I know cinnamon is typical, as may be whole cloves. Oranges sound like a very very fine addition. Do some research and get back to us on the procedure if you have time.

              • Gibblet says:

                I just checked with the Official Memory Of All That Was Or Should Have Been, aka Mom, and she says we washed the apples in a wheelbarrow with water from the hose (!) and pressed them without grinding. She wasn’t sure we cut out the worms, but maybe the obvious rot. Sounds like child abuse to me – hose water, worms and unpasturized juice.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Do you first need to find three or four virgins to stamp on the apples to extract the juices?

            Given the Garden of Eden story, I don’t associate virgins with apples.

  13. Anniel says:


    Cold snap??? Sounds like a warm summer day to me, but congratulations anyway. Can’t wait for the cider, or the snow of winter.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Remember, Annie. Everything is bigger in Texas…including temperatures and braggadocio. 😀 That said, it was 75 here yesterday, so no complaints.

      Washington State is a lot like Alaska’s little brother. We’ve got mountains. We’ve got rain. We’ve got cold. We’ve got bears. It’s just a little milder on all fronts.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I thought you would like my definition of “cold snap”, Annie. Today, its will be back in the 70’s and later this week in the high 80’s. Damn.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Cold in Washington State for this time of year would be in the low 50’s, I guess. The average daily temperature in these parts is about 71 degrees high, 50 low. In Eastern Washington (practically another country) the average for September is about 78/46. Global warming is apparently kept at bay by the Cascade mountains.

        • Gibblet says:

          I wandered out into my Western Washington yard at 4am this morning to close the (forgotten) garden gate. It was 61 degrees warm…quite pleasant!

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I’m baking a pie using the Trader Joe’s frozen crust even as we speak. In this case, the dough is raw. You have to thaw it out in the fridge and then bring it to room temperature. I was able to roll/place it in the glass dish and atop the filled bottom shell with minimum breakage (which is easily repaired). What I’m running into now is that some of the crust is glooping down. I guess you really can’t have any hanging under the edge of the plate. Live and learn.

    But early tastings suggest this is a good crust indeed. I’ve done the standard recipe plus 12 pecan halves (chopped) and 1/8 teaspoon of almond extract.

    • Anniel says:

      My mouth is puckering up and drooling as I write. I wish I could try a taste test, but, alas, life is more complicated than just wishing. Rosalys is probably drooling, too.

      This is not posting, so it’s the site or my pad, grrrr. I’ll try one more time.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Well, obviously you finally made it. I tried several times to post a reference to the Monday humor posting by patriotpost, and never succeeded; I think the link was one they couldn’t pass on (though I did managed to send it by e-mail to Brad). They had several nice items on the race riots, such as a cartoon suggesting that they stop the riots by playing the National Anthem until all the rioters were kneeling like spoiled brat NFL players.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        How to Ship a Frozen Pie.

        If someone will send me this (and the chill pack), you’ll get a pie in return.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Annie, I just updated a WordPress plugin that had to do with comments. Maybe there was a conflict so that’s the reason for the update. Hit or miss. Maybe things will work better for you now. If not, I’ll try sprinkling some chicken blood over it.

  15. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    To go somewhat off topic, my wife made a stew today. She started with about 4.5-5 lbs of beef (top sirloin and round) which she had marinated in red wine and spices for a day or two. The rest of the recipe doesn’t matter.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That much stew should last a few days — maybe a week.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        It will last for a long time as my wife will freeze a good amount of it in 2 to 3 bowl-sized portions. She will then defrost them as and when we have an urge for stew. This is also very convenient for her if she knows she is going to be busy on a particular day. Defrost and warm up. The stew is generally as good or better than when just cooked.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Of course, that requires a good bit of available freezer space. Way back in the 1970s, my mother and I had a freezer in the basement, and occasionally she would get a beef quarter divided into steaks, roasts, etc. Elizabeth and I had a reserve refrigerator in the basement for a while, but it was wiped out in a flood.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I’ll have to try marinating my beef before doing my crockpot stew. Sounds good. Unless she is divulging a Top Secret, could you get the recipe for the marinade? (And if it is Top Secret, just pretend she’s storing it on a home-brew server like Hillary.)

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        About a quarter cup red wine (this time it was a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon)
        About two teaspoons of soy sauce (I think teriyaki sauce might also be good)
        About two teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
        About a teaspoon of a hot sauce such as Tabasco (She used a Mexican sauce called Tapatio)
        Salt and pepper

        The above and the beef were put into a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a day. I think even 6 to 8 hours would work, but you need to turn the bag to make sure all the beef gets marinated as evenly as possible.

        Once the beef is marinated, she first browns it in the pot and takes it out. She then sautes a large onion, then adds a couple of cups of celery and a couple cups of carrots and cooks them until they start to brown somewhat. Then back goes the beef. This improves the flavor of the final product. After that potatoes, tomato paste, pinto beans, etc can be added. They cook for a couple of hours or so.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Thanks. That sounds delish. I think I can adapt that to my crock pot. I’ll let you know the results next time I make stew. And we’re certainly getting into stew weather with the coming of the cold.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            My wife just told me she also put about a half teaspoon of Cognac into the marinade.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              We both avoid alcohol, so obviously such a marinade wouldn’t work for us. Does she have a non-alcoholic alternative? We do occasionally have beef stew (though the meat’s a bit more expensive than we would like).

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                If the problem is you don’t want to buy a bottle of wine or brandy, you can use all of the ingredients without the booze. Just make sure everything is spread pretty evenly over the beef and keep turning it every couple of hours or so. The salt should draw out liquid from the beef and help marinate it.

                On the other hand, since the alcohol evaporates during cooking, you might want to buy a single bottle of beer or a small bottle of wine which is now pretty common in stores.

                I would use a darker beer such as Shiner Bock for the beef. A quick tip for the juiciest roast or barbecue chicken you will ever eat is to marinate it in beer overnight. You don’t notice the beer at all, but the chicken comes out very juicy.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Got it. Or I can substitute Mad Dog 20/20, right? 😀

  16. Gibblet says:

    How did the latest pie turn out with the Trader Joe’s crust?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Gibblet, it turned out well. But I don’t know the first thing about baking a soft-dough pie. I had some of the dough hanging over the edge of the glass pie plate and some of it glooped down into the bottom of the oven. I think I understand now that one must trim it off at the edge with nothing hanging over.

      The dough was easy to work with. Many complain about it splitting and it does but is easily repaired. However, that’s not the ideal if you’re concerned about perfect pie crust aesthetics.

      The dough isn’t cheap at $4.00 for two shells. I found the crust to actually be generously thick. I think you could roll it out a little and get three out of the two. And if I do a braided pie lid (which I intend to do next), this would be especially so. I assume I could just ball up the excess dough and freeze it for the next one? What say you?

      But the taste was good. No complaints. The raw dough (couldn’t wait) tasted like a good raw dough should. It has a good rubbery consistency to it as well. Each pie shell is rolled up in wax paper. You first thaw it overnight in the fridge and then let it come to room temperature before unrolling. If even a newbie like me could do it, for an old pro it would be super simple…and you might avoid some of the tears (and know how to repair them better…dipping your finger in warm water and running it over the tear occurs to me as one way pros fix these things).

      For my next pie, I think I’ll try the strawberry extract and see how that works. What say you again?

      • Gibblet says:

        Happy October! We got up with the sun as showers began to fall and, with a blanket and coffee, watched a perfect rainbow to the west until the sun rose up behind a cloud. Nothing but the sound of birds, raindrops, and a resident sea lion honking in the distance to go with our visit on the covered porch overlooking the pumpkin patch. These moments are so far and few, and all the more special because of their rarity.

        I’ll have to try that TJoe crust. I would think you could re-freeze the portion you don’t use. Or sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar for pie crust cookies. My mom brushes the top of the pie with an egg wash, then sprinkles the sugar and cinnamon over it before baking. Just watch that the sugar doesnt burn – you may have to cover it.

        I would prefer a bit of orange over strawberry for flavoring, but that’s just me. Toss in a few of those golden raisens and pecans, too!

        It sounds like I might have to get busy and make you a pastry chef’s hat to go with that apron.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I may do as you suggest with the egg wash. And I commonly (at least when using the cheaper Pillsbury crusts) cover the pie edges with foil for the entire baking. I also cover the top with foil for about 12 minutes of the baking to keep it from getting too brown.

          How does sea lion pie sound? No…not very good indeed. But I’ve got so many free apples, my friends and family will be inundated by apple pies for the foreseeable future. I will check out some alternatives. There must be peach/apple pies and things like that.

          • Gibblet says:

            One thing you can do with your apple surplus: prepare the apples for pie filling, and instead of putting them in the pie dish, put them in a bag and freeze it! Yes indeedie! Flour, sugar, cinnamon….all ready to go, and with that TJoe pie crust you’ll have homemade pie in just a few easy steps.

            I just got back from TJoe’s; had to buy the pie crust to go with a can of Oregon brand Cherry Pie Filling that’s been in the cupboard a while. I will attempt Cherry Mini Pies! I also have ingredients for Chocolate zucchini cake, and Pecan Pie Muffins! Oh, hip hip hurray! (pun intended regarding my hips)

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Good idea about freezing. Much more efficient production that way. One could do three or four pies for the work of two.

              I think you’ll like the Trader Joe pie dough. Not that it’s earth-shattering. But it’s at least in the realm of homemade unlike anything else I’ve tried.

              Both chocolate zucchini cake and pecan pie muffins sound good. I had pretty good luck with zucchinis this year. If I plant them again next year, I’ll hit your up for your chocolate zucchini cake recipe.

              • Gibblet says:

                I have one giant zucchini left in my garden we, and several others, could share.

                Haven’t heard much about your garden lately. How does it grow?

  17. Lucia says:

    A top crust should be folded under the edges of the bottom crust and pinched together to form a seal. Trim some of the top crust off about an inch past the edges of the bottom crust before folding so the edges don’t become too thick. If you twist the edges between forefinger and thumb it will look fluted. Then a few cuts or pricks to make holes in the top to release steam. Even after all that, a cookie sheet on the bottom rack would help catch any overflows and keep the bottom of the oven clean. I usually sprinkle a bit of sugar and cinnamon on top of the crust for added flavor.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Lucia. That’s a big help. I feel as if I’m earning my license to pie. I’ve been driving over the curbs much of the time even while making it to the destination. No pedestrians have been harmed so far (and most have enjoyed the equivalent of road-kill apple pie).

      I like the idea of a little cinnamon/sugar on top of the crust. Do you do that before or after baking?

  18. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Haven’t heard much about your garden lately. How does it grow?

    It is kind of you to ask, Gibblet. Many a day I have been pleasantly lost (figuratively, although the tomatoes did grow into a proper jungle) in the sunshine watering, pruning, pulling weeds, cleaning up, etc. To grow a vegetable garden is basically like having a child. You just can’t leave it to fend on its own.

    But ornery moods (especially with this bizarre political season as a backdrop) have often sucked out my enthusiasm to write about it. Anyone else get those “Eff humanity” kind of moods where you just don’t want to bother talking about personal stuff (not that a garden is particularly personal, although the zinnias and be have become quite attached)?

    Anyway, I’ve had lots of compliments on the garden. Frankly, it looks to hodge-podge for my taste. But that’s how it grew. Things (entire flower beds) were added, and plants moved, as desired and as required. I look at it now and know I really need to plan things out a little better. There are a few things that are disjointed.

    But overall, because I think I have at least a minimally decent aesthetic, I kept shifting and changing and digging and dirting and shifting and cajoling things into a form that was more or less pleasing.

    The big failure is the big tomatoes again. Many either didn’t ripen properly or rotted on the vine…despite adding all the right fertilizers and stuff. However, there was one variety, Lemon Boy, that did very very well. The tomatoes were large, ripe, and as juicy, tender, and sweet as a good tomato should be (not this weird sort of sponginess inside).

    I will plant those Lemon Boys exclusively next year for the larger tomatoes. Some other varieties of large red ones were fine, but they were the exception.

    But the failures were more than made up for by a Godzilla-sized crop of cherry tomatoes, about 2/3 Super Sweet 100’s and 1/3 Sun Gold. I cannot explain in words just how many tomatoes I picked and gave away. It was in the thousands, perhaps reaching ten thousand or more. And everyone loved them. They were excellent through and through. These are really nice tomatoes to grow. They work well in salads, eating like candy, or even in soups.

    The sunflowers were a bit of a bust. I planted a different variety and they didn’t hold their flowers for long. Last year they were superb. Also, the sugar peas (the kind with edible pods) were a bumper crop. Later (still harvesting some) I planted beans which were even better (although not 1/10 as abundant). I’d like to clear out some space for a proper trellis or two. Beans and peas are a nice “nibbling” vegetable that rewards you as you’re out there tending the garden.

    I have a lot of potted plants outside. I’m not sure which ones will survive the winter but I really don’t have room to bring them indoors, so it will be survival of the fittest. The strawberry crop was pretty good and produced early. But it’s kind of a pain in the ass to harvest and maintain. You really do need to put a net over it to keep the birds out. And that just complicates harvesting and weeding. So I may replace that 30 foot by 9 foot plot with something else. I don’t know, maybe potatoes would be fun to try.

    In the heat of summer, I found myself needing to spend a couple hours watering. There’s a lot to water and there’s no fancy sprinkler system in my future. Besides, that would spoil the point of it all which is being out in the garden and out of the office for a while. But it became somewhat overwhelming from a time standpoint so I’m going to have to either pare things back a little or find a way to grow things that need less tending…excluding the tomatoes, of course, which are certainly worth the effort.

    I really was astonished at the size of the tomato crop. For at least two months, I had to struggle each day with how to dispose of the tomatoes. At one point I resorted to just leaving them on a neighbor’s front porch with my business card in it so they knew who it was from. I had people refusing them because they hadn’t eaten the ones they had already…which they indeed liked and would later take more. But one can eat just so many.

    I understand there are crops you can grow in the fall and winter. But I’m spent. I think lying fallow for a while is just what the plant doctor ordered.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’m really surprised that you’d need to water your plants in the Seattle area. I thought it rained pretty regularly there (though not as much as on the Olympic Peninsula, of course).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It’s supposed to rain all the time. And it is typical to get a predominantly rainy June and rain on the Fourth of July. (June was fairly dry this year, although I can’t find any data on that.) But it was getting to the point this summer where I was praying for rain in order to get a break from the chore of watering the garden.

        It rained yesterday pretty thoroughly…a little late since because things are winding down in the garden. But had it been sunny and warm, I would have at least watered a few of the flowers. It’s nice to have that break.

        The annual average rainfall where I am is 56 inches. I have some relatives who live near Plano, Texas, so just for comparison, they get 41 inches per year. That’s not a lot of difference in inches. (Of course, many places in Western Washington get a LOT of rain, such as Forks which gets 119 inches).

        The thing that makes my area so wet is that the rain doesn’t gush all at once (although it certainly can at times). This is no Hawaii type of shower that pours its inches in a matter of an hour and then is sunny for the rest of the day or days. In my part of Western Washington (typical of all of Western Washington), it doles it out in drizzles and small showers. And when it actually isn’t raining, more likely than not there is a heavy cloud cover. Whatever the case may be, the drizzle takes the average overall temperature of 51.9 degrees and makes it feel a lot colder.

        Still, there are more evergreens than illegal aliens and Charlotte rioters, so we have that going for us still. 😀 The generally bad weather is good for some things.

  19. Lucia says:

    Gardens are a lot of work but a challenge as well. Every year I learn something new and I’ve been growing them for 40 years. Fertilizing tomatoes after they’ve been planted in fertilized soil tends to make them grow too much vine, and watering should be even and only when the top inch or 2 of soil is dry. Overwatering or irregular watering will make them rot on the bottom of the fruit. That is, if they are potted in regular soil and not just in a potting medium. Nursery stuff doesn’t hold water around the roots, but your plants sound as if they were planted in the right stuff.

    Tomatoes can get out of hand. When not growing tomatoes to can up I grow only one plant for eating fresh. Some people dry tomatoes in a dehydrator or freeze the slices for soups or sauces.

    Cinnamon and sugar should be sprinkled on a pie crust before baking. I learned all of my cooking skills from Joy of Cooking. I recommend it to anyone learning the chemistry and basics of cooking and baking a wide range of foods.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for the benefit of your experience, Lucia. I used good potting soil for the tomatoes in pots. 2/3 were in a pot and about 1/3 were in regular garden beds. I used very large pots this year (10 gallon pots). This was a vast improvement over the smaller pots I had used the previous year (in which I did not always use potting soil).

      The weather was so consistently nice, it was likely impossible for me to over-water the plants, especially the ones in pots. But the large types of tomatoes that did better were in the garden beds, not in pots, so that ends that experiment once and for all. Any of the large variety of tomatoes (which will all be Lemon Boys now) will be grown in beds, not pots.

      But that doesn’t hold for the cherry tomatoes. They did well both in pots and in the two vines I had in regular beds. They responded very well to the fertilizer, soil, and watering (which was almost always daily…sometimes 3 times a day at the peak of 95 degree weather). Along with a tablespoon of Epsom salt when planting, they were sprayed with a weak solution of Epsom salt when they started to flower and then about once a week (along with some occasional time-release tomato fertilizer).

      For the indeterminate varieties of tomato (which included all of the cherry tomatoes — Super Sweet 100s and Sun Golds), I pinched off any “suckers” that appeared between the stem of the plant and the branches (or between sub-branches and main branches, etc.)…something which I learned from some YouTube gardener. That seemed to focus most of the plants energy to growing tomatoes, not vines, and the results speak for themselves. It was a bumper crop. (I wonder if that’s how Henry Ford grew some of the parts for his first automobiles? A bumper crop.)

      I think some of our warmer weather did harm to some of the potted large-variety tomatoes. But that’s just a guess. The heat did no harm to the cherry tomatoes. Regarding having too many tomatoes, an aunt advised me that I could just freeze whatever I intended to use in my soups because freezing is apparently irrelevant in regards to use in soups. Of course, the freezing would ruin them for use as slicing for a sandwich.

      If you’re referring to this book, feel free to do a real-world, hands-on review of it and send it in.

      Gardens are indeed a challenge. But I also find sanity in them. I look at the tattooed fools who walk through life with their head buried in their phones and, despite whatever shortcomings and problems I may have, I know that’s not the way to go through life. You have to stop and smell the roses . . . and maybe plant a few as well.

  20. Lucia says:

    The price is enough to scare off anybody, but one might be found as used. I bought my second one in hardcover for $30 back in the late 70s when we were eating wild game for meat. I’ll think about your idea of writing a review.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Twenty dollars for hardcover (presumably new) isn’t too bad. And I’ve had very good luck buying used at Amazon. One should be able to pick up a copy for $7.00 plus about $4.00 shipping.

      • Lucia says:

        Brad, I’ve discovered via Amazon that the new Joy of Cooking is the 8th edition and I’ve got the 5th edition from 1975. Each edition was updated and the tutorial on ingredients was dropped. I can’t vouch for the newer editions. I did learn, however, that Julia Childs learned how to cook through her old Joy cookbook. If you can find an older edition in a used bookstore it is worth having in your kitchen.

  21. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I made another apple pie with the Trader Joe’s dough and it came out better, although I’m going to have to place foil over the crust longer than just 15 minutes. It still gets a little too brown in my convection oven.

    This version had 1/4 teaspoon of strawberry extract and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla (and the pecans as usual). It was good although you couldn’t notice the strawberry. If anything there was just a slight tang to it. But I can tell you that the apples before baking smelled particularly scrumptious.

    I’m having an awful time with the crust sticking to the glass pie dish, especially on the sides and edges. I may have to try a little Pam and see if that does it.

    I took my second pie to the inmates (the group home where my mother is staying at the moment) and they loved it. I’m sending them another one today.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I guess you’re getting the hang of it. “Practice, practice, practice.”

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Sounds like the old joke about why teachers make the best lovers.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yep. Although we live in a culture where instant expertise is supplied by heaping teaspoons of delusion and bullshit, a friend of my older brother’s (an accomplished musician) says that you have to put in your 5000 hours to be good at whatever it is.

        Trump is the culmination of the shallow set who might speak a good game but there’s little substance behind it. Trump is the “just add water” candidate. You can imagine him bloating up into any concoction of your choosing like one of those flattened, cheap sponges that are given away at the state fair.

        But making a good anything takes time. You can’t bamboozle everyone on everything. Braggadocio and shifty rhetoric is not the same as competence. Guitar Hero might be fun and useful in terms of fostering pursuing music further. But I fear we live in a society that doesn’t often go behind Guitar Hero. And if anything of merit is achieved, it’s something “showy” as if expertise in anything that doesn’t get you instance gratification and adulation is a waste. We are a culture that has combined Star Search with Guitar Hero and does anyone wonder why then we ended up with Donald Trump?

        Someone mentioned that pies were complicated. I think she may be right. 😀

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I took my second pie to the inmates (the group home where my mother is staying at the moment) and they loved it. I’m sending them another one today.

      What??? You are actually doing something to make the world a better place, not just talking about it? Shame on you! You might make someone feel guilty for only talking about it. And you know, the way we feel about ourselves is what is most important in society today. You need to consider the damage you are doing by helping others.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I am but a giver of light in this word of darkness. I am the pie, the fruit, and the oven. No one comes to the Baker except through my kitchen.

        FYI, mother is moving to a different (and more expensive) assisted living home. Nurse Ratched (who, in her favor, could at least speak passable English) and Stalag 13 will soon be but a memory. But I’ll miss short-term-memory-loss Diane who proved that you don’t have to become a cranky person just because you’re old. I have every hope of visiting her again, but it might be difficult given the barbed wire and guard dogs. She’s a sweet lady who deserves better.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I love the Biblical parody of the first paragraph. I hope things work out well for your mother. And, for that matter, Diane. I’m approaching their state myself, though I’m not quite there yet.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Thanks for the best wishes, Timothy. Dealing with my mother is like shooting craps in Vegas. The dice might be hot. You might have a streak going. But craps might be the next throw of the die.

            Getting old is no fun. It’s even worse fun in a culture that has little regard for age. It’s even worse in a culture that has expectations of little or no discomfort. I can’t imagine blowing $5000.00 a month on “assisted living.” Think of the scholarships that money could buy for the grandkids. And I don’t want to say that I want nothing for myself. But I’d be happier seeing it go toward something more productive than just a new car or big screen TV for me.

            But it is what it is. The days of taking care of your own parents in your own home are over. And, frankly, there are some parents for whom this is a death sentence for the children. My heart warms talking to the inmate, Diane, who does not remember my name from visit to visit buy vaguely remembers me as the “tomato guy.” If I were married, I could envision having her in my home.

            But it is what it is. We’ll rent out her old home and that (along with other savings and income) should tide her over until she goes to the next level.

  22. Lucia says:

    I’m glad you found a way to care for your Mom. My mother would threaten to run away and die in the woods but she couldn’t walk as far as the door by that time. I wish I could have some solution for my own care when it comes time for it, and my parents tried to make arrangements ahead of time, but like them, when I fall apart, it will probably be a nasty surprise.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Mother has been of fairly even temper lately. She has mood swings, so her enthusiasm for moving into this new place could very quickly be followed by non-stop complaints. I’ll I say is, Lord grant me the character, mind, heart, and soul to not make other people miserable as the aging process takes me to my final resting place.

      In the meantime, there’s always apple pie!

  23. Lucia says:

    Apple pie is terribly good with a cup of coffee in the morning.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Now that I think of it, is there actually a wrong time for pie?

      • Gibblet says:

        Apple pie is good for dessert, after dinner
        Or in place of a meal if you want to be thinner
        Pie and coffee for breakfast are great
        After a busy day you can have a piece late
        Pie is usually best with ice cream
        or warmed up and served if you’ve had a bad dream
        There isn’t a time apple pie is not good
        It is, after all, the best kind of food

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I haven’t used dessert (such as pie) as a substitute for the rest of the meal (though I’ve sometimes had it first). But I definitely agree of the desirability of combining pie (or cake or other desserts) with ice cream. (And then there’s strawberry shortcake, which relies primarily on 3 ingredients once you have the shortcakes — often pound cake.)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Splendid, Gibblet. However, that is too many words without bitching about Hillary, Donald Trump, or the state of the world, so watch it. Remember — I complain, so therefore I am . That’s the catchword of the conservative media and we must stick to it.

          Doing something artful, playful, positive, creative, uplifting, and just generally cheery is frowned upon. I don’t want to have to throw my Editorial weight around here and begin deleting posts. Just a friendly warning, in fact….

          There once was a pie rhyming poet
          Whose idea of a diet was “dough-it”
          Of apples there’s fillery
          And no talk of Hillary
          But the conservative line, she must toe it

          • Gibblet says:

            Snarky, snarky poem I posted
            even though t’was true
            yet jumping in the mud
            is something I can’t do

            I tried it twice, by posting
            a poem of pie with spice
            but it is tough to swallow
            so I’ll just play nice

  24. Lucia says:

    But only if you are an adult. Adults can eat pastries and sweets any time of day or night, even having second or third helping, or gobbling up the whole thing at once. Children, however, must be monitored for their health’s sake until they grow up.

  25. Yang says:

    An apple pie sounds great to have at the moment, plus a cup of coffee for the cold morning. I haven’t indulged in a pie for almost a year now, especially apple pie. Apples are what I need right now, but apple pie sounds better.

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