(Apple Pie/ An American Story by John T. Edge)
I've officially been on a pie kick for more than a year now. It all started when I moved to Boston for three months in the fall, had nothing in terms of kitchen supplies, and positively longed for comfort food. My friend took pity on me and took me on a trip to IKEA. The one thing I bought for the kitchen? A pie plate. Chicken pot pie and apple pie soon followed.
That apple pie was really something. I had purchased a big bag of little apples from the farmer's market and sat at the kitchen table with a set of cheesy Target knives and my Italian roommate. I peeled apples as best I could without a peeler, and my roommate kept me company with his Italian accent while he cooked and consumed one of the largest steaks I have ever seen ("meat is so cheap here!")
The next day I shared the pie with my three roommates, and it felt like a feast. That's the thing that really gets me about pie. It's meant for sharing. There's no pie cupcake, and it's a much harder task than it seems for one person to eat an entire pie. Pie is a shared experience. It brings people together.
So naturally the first book I've read cover-to-cover since coming back to Boston is Apple Pie by John T. Edge. I've read two of the other books in this series (Donuts and Hamburgers), and have found Edge to be a fantastic storyteller. He starts with the history of the food in question and then guides you on an epicurean tour of that specialty based on region and chef and weirdness. It all makes for an interesting read and an exceedingly good conversation starter ("did you know that people make mock apple pie with Ritz crackers...?")