A Little Life
We Should All Be Feminists
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Blueberries for Sal
Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Little House Books Vol. 1
Laura Ingalls Wilder
If I could spend a weekend doing anything at all, I’d most likely be found reading books and making pie. These timeless pastimes make sweet harmony together. Pie requires patience and waiting, and reading forces you to sit still for longer than five minutes, thus they are a match made in pastry-literary heaven. Oh, what a heaven that would be! Choose a book and its accompanying pie (find the recipes in my new cookbook, Sister Pie), and start by making a batch of dough. As it bakes, start turning those pages, then enjoy a slice while you pore over the chapters.
By Hanya Yanagihara
Pair With: Apple Sage Gouda pie
This novel is devastating, gorgeous, and once I began it, I couldn’t put it down. Yanagihara explores deep trauma through the lens of lifelong friendship and love. Jude, around whom the book is centered, is a complex and heartbreaking character. The more we learn about Jude, the more we mourn with him. He is known by his friends to be a talented cook and baker. I can imagine him choosing to conquer the Apple Sage Gouda pie, carefully choosing each New York apple, delicately plucking the sage leaf from its stem, and working bravely through his body’s constant aches and pains to roll the dough for a sweet (and almost savory) after-dinner treat.
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Pair With: Sweet Corn Nectarine Streusel Pie
I wish to buy everyone I know a copy of this quick and powerful read. In Adichie’s novels, she transports the reader into a unique experience and perspective in the center of our shared universe. In this particular essay, she masterfully inspires reflection on the traditional male and female roles in society, while illustrating correctly what feminism really (and simply) is. Adichie’s voice is at once welcoming and challenging, kind of like the Sweet Corn Nectarine Streusel Pie. Everyone likes corn cut straight from the cob, right? But corn in a sweet pie is a totally different situation. Never fear, even something as old-fashioned as pie can change its approach.
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By Robert McCloskey
Pair with: Blueberry Plum Balsamic Pie
I’ve long-dreamed of visiting Blueberry Hill, where young Sal and her mother go to pick small-town Maine’s seasonal bounty of tiny blue fruits. Sal’s blissful snacking leads her astray, resulting in a mix-up with a mother bear and her cub. Do not fear: no harm comes to human or bear. The story ends just as it begins, with Sal’s mother canning their harvest for winter. This book should be read while eating our Blueberry Plum Balsamic Pie, which is filled with a jammy, bright filling that Sal, her mother, and the bears would equally love.
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
Pair with: Salted Maple pie
Reading about the Wilder family’s adventures felt like historical indulgence for my suburban self in the 1990s. Perhaps this is because when I think of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books of my childhood, I always think of food. The detailed prose describing breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the frontier had me eagerly (and hungrily) returning to each new chapter. For Christmas, Ma would make Laura and Mary a dark molasses syrup to pour over pans of freshly fallen snow, forming instant candy for snacking. This tradition is also associated with maple syrup; therefore, I recommend pairing this book with our Salted Maple pie for its straightforward maple flavor and snow-like salt crystals on top.
By Kenny Shopsin and Carolynn Carreno
Pair with: Egg-on-Top Galette with Sweet Potatoes and Cheddar
You’ll have to forgive me, as I’ve colored outside the lines on this one. The late Kenny Shopsin’s book is actually a cookbook but contains so much more than recipes. I love to gaze through the full, unbelievably long menus and imagine what each dish might look like. The contents of this book forced me to reconsider everything that is traditionally acceptable from chefs and in restaurants. Most memorably, though, is Shopsin’s ode to cooking eggs. I read it when I’m feeling uninspired or even just tired. With that in mind, I’d pair this with our Egg-on-Top Galette with Sweet Potatoes and Cheddar, which is kind of a pie but not.
Featured Images and Author Photo: E.E. Berger