Clocks spring ahead on Sunday followed in hot pursuit by my favorite food celebration, Pi(e) Day. Personally, Pi(e)Day is more about the double crust and less about the numbers, but I respect the importance of kitchen math even when scribbled on a coffee cup.
In rapid succession St. Patrick’s Day, Purim and Easter will clamor for attention, engaging every sheet pan in the bakery. Shamrock cookies piped with green and orange plaids will have barely left the building before we start sugaring the bunnies. In an effort to perfect the speed and accuracy of my Hamantaschen folding, I will brush up on my origami skills. Apparently there’s been a little pre-Purim grousing, even though it’s a touch early for the tri-cornered pastries.
An impatient celebrant insists on pushing the Purim envelope, calling every few days to inquire about the availability of Hamantaschen. “They’re just about to go into the oven…” is my guarded response. Might I suggest a nice Ides of March cookie, Madam? Iced in black it should tide you over until I decide to get my Esther on.
Disgruntled customer interactions extend beyond Purim. Last Saturday, a kindly barista was badgered regarding the quantity of apples and sour cream in the apple/sour cream pie. The exact question was, “Are there ‘a lot’ of apples in the apple pie?” I like to think 32 ounces is a generous amount. And what of the sour cream custard, the woman continued. “Is there ‘a lot’ of sour cream in the custard?” This was a valid question because the customer suffered from a little, not a lot, of lactose intolerance. To err on the side of caution, Lady A. Lot ordered an apple raspberry pie instead. I can only hope that the seeds in the raspberries didn’t wreak havoc because as we all know, raspberries tend to have quite a few seeds.
When a month is riddled with holidays, you learn all sorts of interesting facts. On March 14, 1776, Alexander Hamilton was appointed captain of the 1st battalion, 5th Field Artillery Unit of the United States Army. This unit is the oldest still existing today, and the only one remaining from the Revolution. Who knew Alexander Hamilton had reason to celebrate Pi(e) day?
In addition to March 14th, I must acknowledge an individual whose March 9th birthday will always be remembered in our family. Without Jessie, it is unlikely that my workdays would revolve around a rolling pin and pounds of pie dough. It’s doubtful that I would have opted for a career that combines a vague understanding of math and spatial relations with a relentless holiday calendar.
Jessie’s distinctive voice echoed in my memory yesterday as I navigated cubes of butter into a bowl of flour that was clearly wrong for the job. Looking down at my once navy blue t-shirt liberally coated in a cloud of King Arthur, I could hear Jessie’s simple directive; use a bigger bowl. March on.