A Life-Changing Pie Experience
LIANE HANSEN, host:
It's National Pie Day, in honor of what the American Pie Council calls America's favorite dessert. A fresh-baked, still-warm, sometimes ice-cream-topped pie is more than just an indulgence to Beth Howard. It changed her life. Beth Howard is a writer, blogger and, of course, a pie baker. Welcome to the program, Beth.
Ms. BETH HOWARD (Writer): Thank you, Liane. It's nice to be here.
HANSEN: What does pie mean to you?
Ms. HOWARD: Well, pie, first of all, means comfort and beyond comfort, sharing and simplicity. And I quit a high-tech dot-com job back in 2001 because I was just so tired of the technology and the stress and the virtual environments and just - pie seemed so grounding and tactile, and a way to sort of get back to my roots.
HANSEN: Your roots. I noticed the emails from you and with a signature - sent from my Pie Phone. Clearly you love what you do. What was it that got you into pie?
Ms. HOWARD: I first learned how to make pie when I was 17, when I got caught stealing apples from the orchard of an old man, a grumpy old guy. I was on a bicycle trip down the coast of Washington state - and got in trouble. And he turned out to be a pastry chef and invited us in, and taught us his craft. So that was where it all started. And then, like I said, after I quit the dot-com job, I turned to pie as this thing to sort of nurture me back to life.
And I baked pies in Malibu for a living - well, if you can call living in Malibu on minimum wage. It sure was a fun job.
HANSEN: Wow. I also understand that baking and sharing your pies has helped you through a difficult time recently. How so?
Ms. HOWARD: Well, my husband, Marcus, he died 16 months ago of a ruptured aorta, and it was a total shock. And I was pretty much unable to function for quite a few months. And then I was in Los Angeles, and I ran into a friend of a friend who said, I know that you have a blog. And she had worked in television, and she wanted to do a pie documentary.
So the two of us got together and did a television shoot. And that made me realize that I was onto something, that pie makes people happy. When you talk about pie, they just start smiling. And everybody has a pie story.
HANSEN: So how should one celebrate Pie Day?
Ms. HOWARD: I am a firm believer that when you do something nice for others, it makes you feel better yourself. And there are a lot of people out there suffering, and pie is the best way to cheer somebody up. I think everybody should just make a pie and give a slice away - or if you can't make your own pie, it doesn't matter, just let's go out and have a piece of pie and a cup of coffee. It's a way for people to spend time together, remember what's important in life.
HANSEN: Any advice for the novice pie baker?
Ms. HOWARD: Don't be afraid, don't be intimidated by pie dough. It's just having fun and relaxing, and knowing that it's not about perfection.
HANSEN: Beth Howard is a pie baker, writer, and author of the blog The World Needs More Pie. Happy Pie Day, Beth.
Ms. HOWARD: Thank you, Liane.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.