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Gertie Slices up Pie Advice

Like pie? Who doesn't? Sure 'nuff, eating pie is easy, but making and sharing pie can be real complicated - there's all kinds of rules and emotional baggage...

Dear Gertie,

I done been marred ... uh married ... to Hubert for almost four months and this month is his family reunion. He's real partial to my Gooseberry Nut Pie, but I heard that Aunt Jo is the one that makes Gooseberry pies. Should I make one anyway?

Thanks, Margaret

Dear Margaret, heavens, no. You didn't know that there's a Pie Pecking Order for social gatherings, did ya? Each woman has a particular pie she brings. Of course, the Pie Pecking Order is just for the Pie Women, the Cake Women and Casserole Women don't count. So, if you're new to a church, family, or neighborhood, you better ask if anyone makes a Gooseberry Nut Pie before you go and pick those gooseberries from your back yard.

Down through the years, women used pie to needle each other. Once Aunt Bertie took it upon herself to make a Chess Pie for the summer revival (knowing full well that it was her arch rival's, Chelsea Mae's, crowning glory). When Chelsea Mae got a gander of Aunt Bertie's pie, she started squawking like a hen in a rain shower. Aunt Bertie and all 300 pounds of her polyester self stomped up, snatched Chelsea Mae's pie, walked in the port-o-potty and promptly dropped it in the blue water, hollering, "Thar's where yer fool pie belongs, Jezebel!" Luckily, the preacher got there before Chelsea Mae could throw the potato salad (that stainless steel bowl could've hurt somebody).

Pie can also be used as a weapon. Take a relative of mine's Banana Cream Pie, for example (it wouldn't be nice to mention her name now since she recently got Internet access and took a likin' to my advice givin'). Anyway, her crusts are like rubber, her meringue looks like calf slobber, and only the Good Lord knows why her banana filling tastes fishy. One time another unnamed relative got her partial plate stuck in the meringue! Somebody needs to introduce you-know-who to pre-made crusts, whipped topping and canned filling, but no can do. Even the slightest suggestion about her 'from scratch' recipe would cause much weeping and gnashing of false teeth (not to mention she might drop the suggestioner's pie in the nearest port-o-potty).

Dear Gertie,

Next week is the church's summer social and I know that hussy Thelma will be there showin' off her Cherry Cheese Pie and her cleveledge. I want to show her up good - got a good recipe that I can use and advice on gettin' my own cleveledge? What's a tart? Well, besides ol' hussy Thelma.


Dear Alice, if you make your pie right, you won't have to worry about your cleavage, sugar. Try this:

1 (9-inch) graham cracker crumb crust (made from scratch)
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice (use the real stuff)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling, chilled

In large mixer bowl, beat cheese until fluffy. Beat in Eagle Brand until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into crust. Chill 3 hours or until set. Top with desired amount of pie filling before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

By the way, a tart is like a thin pie. Just imagine a pie with no top and only half as deep - kinda like Thelma.

Dear Gertie,

Wilma finally died. I never thought anybody that mean would live so long, but she did. What can I make for the old coot's funeral?


Dear Brenda, since you ain't that close to the dearly departed, you can't go wrong with making an apple pie. Even though Wilma is bound for perdition, her family needs your good cookin' to ease the pain of Wilma's departure (and her social security checks).

Dear Gert,

What is exactly is a Mincemeat Pie? Hamburger Helper?


Dear Alberta, no. It's a rich and spicy fruit preserve that is a combination of suet, cooked chopped meat, apples, lemons, raisins, nuts, bolts, spices, moonshine,40-weight motor oil, and whatever else you can find in the pantry. Homemade mincemeat should be aged for a month or so to allow the flavors to meld and ferment to the right octane.

Dear Gertie,

Are there any rules for what kind of pies to make for get-togethers?


Hey Babs, well, always check the Pie Pecking Order then use this rule of thumb:

  • Summer: seasonal fruit like berries (strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, gooseberry, etc.), rhubarb, cherry, peach, and ice cream pies.

The perfect ice cream base for your pie is Beer Ice Cream:

3 cans beer
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Pour *1 1/2 cans of beer into a pan. (*Note, you should drink the leftover 1 and 1/2 cans while you make this ice cream.) Reduce it down to half, and then leave on the stove on low heat. Mix together the egg and sugar in a bowl, stir in milk, then the warm beer concentrate. Mix in cream. Chill mix in refrigerator for about an hour. Freeze in ice cream maker according to however you work that blasted thang. Makes around 2 quarts.

  • Fall: apple, pumpkin, nut (pecan, walnut, peanut, etc.), chess, sweet potato, chess, and shoofly pies are best.
  • Winter: custards, mincemeat, chocolate, and cream pies.
  • Spring: anything fluffy made with Cool Whip or topped with meringue is perfect

Dear Gertie,

We're having a racin' party. What kind of pie goes with a fried bologna sammages? We love Elliot Sadler!


Dear Annie, sounds like y'all are gonna have a BIG time! The best kind of pie for Elliot Sadler Bologna Burgers would be a Lemon Ice Box Pie. This tart dessert is the perfect compliment to the melted cheese and pretty orange bologna grease.

Dear Gertie,

I got all these watermelons and a church social comin' up. Is there a recipe for watermelon pie?


Dear Tara, there sure is! This is my Watermelon Chiffon Pie, and it makes one 10-inch or two 8 inch pies.

2 cups Watermelon, pureed
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
2 Egg whites; stiffly beaten (I use the powdered egg whites)
1 cup whipping cream; whipped
Graham Cracker Crust (homemade)
Whipped cream to garnish

Puree watermelon to measure two cups. Add powdered sugar and set aside. Bloom (that's a fancy term for soften) gelatin in cold water. Add boiling water and stir to dissolve. Add lemon juice and pureed watermelon. Refrigerate until mixture begins to thicken. Fold in egg whites and whipped topping. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate until firm. Garnish with whipped topping.

Hey Gertie,

Yer right, old girl. They need to check out the pecking order in the pie section before going to the family reunions, funerals, or anniversaries. I learned the hard way. I wanted to impress Clifford's family so bad that I went over to my favorite BBQ place and bought a beautiful Lemon Ice Box Pie with meringue 6 inches high! Proudly I displayed it on my bestest cake stand (the yellow ceramic with fruit that Aunt Cora made for our wedding present). Yep, it was so purty with the condensation glistening on the meringue. Then I noticed all the aunts huddled in a corner when finally Aunt Lula Joe waltzed over and told me since this was my first time that I ought to know that Aunt Vera always made the lemon ice box pie and it was HOMEMADE, never store bought.

So later with an untouched Lemon Ice Box Pie that was rapidly melting in the heat, I made a list of who brought what. Next year I decided to impress everyone with a homemade cheesecake pie. Unfortunately I used canned blueberries and some of the syrup got in the cream, so I just mixed red and blue food coloring to make a blue cheesecake. Oh, it was purty. I displayed it this time on Aunt Augusta's Revco glass cake stand. No one touched it. In tears I fled to the bathroom where I locked myself into a stall. In came several of the aunts saying, "Poor child, she just can't learn, someone needs to talk to her, first she brings lemon icebox and its from a store and now she brings in some foreign pie that already spoiled! When will she learn?"

So check out that pecking order! If you really want to impress the relatives, just ask for recipes. Doesn't matter if you hate the recipe, their vanity has been touched, you asked them. And if you really want to make points, pick out one of the female in the upper hierarchy of the family and invite her to a chat in the restroom. Just tell her that you are having a problem and really want a suggestion on what to bring. Just tell her, you want to impress the Momma in Law. She will bend over backwards to give you a true & tried recipe that will impress everyone & allow you to score points with the food table.
Cousin Lo'Reeta

Dear Lo'Reeta, thanks for the tips, cuz!

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