Mother Nature must be enjoying an early spring break, leaving behind her digital assistants to run the show. Instructing Siri and Alexa to play her Greatest Hits album while she’s out of the office, the weather has hit new highs, frosty lows and dabbled in all the temps in between. In the last week we’ve been taunted by brilliant skies followed by biting winds and sleet. Thoughts of shedding my down parka are squelched by a passing snow squall with white out conditions. Weather apps are equally confused, offering neutral forecasts of partly cloudy/mostly sunny headlines only to give way to the incessant beeping of a Winter Weather Advisory. There’s plenty of wind to ruin your one good hair day and a generous dose of freezing rain/messy slush for the afternoon you’ve donned a pair of open-back clogs. Wednesday we were awash in blue skies, sunshine, and summery temps. But that balmy memory has since been replaced by more freezing rain, ice, and snow. Reports of early crocus pop-ups must have been greatly exaggerated; ditto for sightings of spring produce. I retreat to boxes of lesser used bakeware stashed in the basement in hopes of finding some worthy of a revisit.
My perpetual paring down of kitchenware has unearthed a stack of small glass pie plates, measuring barely 7” across and emblazoned with the word, Sealtest. Embossed on the bottom is the word GLASBAKE, which was a line of kitchenware introduced in 1917, manufactured by the McKee Glass Company of Jeanette, Pennsylvania. Glasbake competed with the more popular Pyrex (made by Corning) and Fire-King brands, claiming to be heat and break resistant. These particular pie plates were produced in tandem with a Sealtest advertising campaign featuring ice cream pies. Most kids growing up in the 60s will remember not only Sealtest’s eye-catching magazine ads and posters, but their rotation of seasonal flavor combinations. Half-gallons of sundae-worthy offerings such as Pineapple-Lemon, Banana-Strawberry Split, and Vanilla-Raspberry-Lemon-Lime required little more than a bowl and a spoon. One of my favorites was the Checkerboard; dizzying squares of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry aligned in perfect grid-like harmony.
From where Mother Nature sits, undoubtedly in a sprawling lounge chair, poolside somewhere, an ice cream pie might feel appropriate. Here, amidst a backdrop of ice and freezing temps, a bunch of not-quite (but-soon-to-be) ripe bananas are ready for their place in the partial sun. Dangerously easy to eat, banana cream pie laughs at the weather and a 7” pie plate handily accommodates one half of a typical pie recipe. With a math problem even I can solve, (“Six bananas divided by two…”) half of a whole pie sounds downright nutritional. Topping the pie with unsweetened whipped cream sounds dramatic, but paired with the rich custard and plenty of fruit, the pie is a perfect sum of its parts.
When Mother Nature returns to her post, my hope is that she is sufficiently refreshed with an eye on spring. I can weather this weather for just so long, but once this pie is gone, I’ll need some renewed inspiration. Alexa? Siri? Play "Spring Is Bustin' Out All Over"...
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm