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thanksgiving in pie town

I arrive in Pie Town the day before Thanksgiving with no idea what to expect.

Cycling up the last hill, mid-afternoon, I see three figures with bikes silhouetted at the top. I pull up and the guys check out my bike thoroughly before bothering with any social pleasantries but I presume it passes muster because before long I discover that not only is Thanksgiving totally sorted but we also have a place to stay in Pie Town.

The Toaster House is a free hostel of sorts, a stopping point for hikers and bikers on the Great Divide route, provided by Nita, a ‘trail angel.’ Nita is away but we are welcome to stay, none-the-less. Once the wood burning stove is stoked up the Toaster House is certainly far, far cosier than than camping in the sub-zero temperatures that I have been experiencing out in the forest en route from Flagstaff. Things are looking good.

The next morning Cass, Jeff and I set off on a ride, unburdened by luggage, to a lookout at over 9000 feet on the Great Divide.

A serious climb on a rough track but at least the bicycle is unburdened for once. Photo: Jeff Volk.

A serious climb on a rough track but at least the bicycle is unburdened for once. Photo: Jeff Volk.

Cass admiring the view from the Davenport Lookout.

Cass admiring the view from the Davenport Lookout.

Cass and Jeff cycling down a canyon.

Cass and Jeff cycling down a canyon.

After a while we manage to lose the road completely.

After a while we manage to lose the road completely.

The sun is going down and Thanksgiving dinner is waiting back in Pie Town.

The sun is going down and Thanksgiving dinner is waiting back in Pie Town.

After a fine adventure we finally get back to Pie Town in time for Thanksgiving dinner at the Pie-o-neer, one of the two cafes that help Pie Town live up to its name. We eat more than seems humanly possible from a largely vegetarian spread – a more or less impromptu feast put on by the management and staff to which we are very warmly welcomed. Desert is pies, of course.

Thanksgiving entertainment.

Thanksgiving entertainment.

Jeff and Jason are waiting for the arrival of a box of food at the Post Office and, since it doesn’t arrive the following day, we stay in Pie Town, hanging out at the Pie-o-neer eating pie..

Peeling apples - I am roped into the business of pie production.

Peeling apples - I am roped into the business of pie production.

Cathy, the force behind Pie-o-Neer, showing off a pie, hot from the oven.

Cathy, the force behind Pie-o-neer, showing off a pie, hot from the oven.

Cherry pie.

Cherry pie.

Pecan oat pie.

Pecan oat pie.

In two and a half days in Pie Town, I manage to sample apple pecan pie, pecan oat pie, triple berry pie, peach pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie*. There are quite possibly some that I have already forgotten and I certainly had more than one slice of each. It’s a good thing I’m on cycle tour.

There are no grocery shops in Pie Town and Jeff and Jason’s food box doesn’t turn up. Cass and I don’t have a lot of food either. Things look grim until George, a late season hiker turns up at the Toaster House at 9pm the night before we are due to set off into the wilderness. He has some left over provisions and a food box which does arrive at the Post Office in the morning which he is happy to hand over to our expedition.

Cass and George at the entrance of the Toaster House.

Cass and George at the entrance of the Toaster House.

*Cathy was kind enough to give me some of her pie recipes.

PIE-O-NEER PIE CRUST

This recipe is for a cafe and makes 5 crusts. As changing proportions in a recipe is an unpredicatable business, the best option might be to make the full amount and freeze some portions for future use.

  • Sift together 5 cups flour, 2 tsps. salt, & 1/2 tsp. baking powder.
  • Cut in 1 cup cold butter and 1 cup lard.
  • When you have the dry ingredients sufficiently blended w/the butter and lard, slowly incorporate the following:
  • (Mixed together) 1 cup cold water, 1 egg (slightly beaten) & 1 TBS. apple cider vinegar.  Usually requires a little more water, added a little at a time.
  • With as light a touch as possible, make 5 patties, dust with flour, securely wrap and chill or freeze for use later.

OATS ‘N PECANS (Makes 2 pies)

  • Cream together 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) and 1 cup of sugar.  Add 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground clove, & 1/2 tsp. salt.  Mix well.
  • Add 1 cup dark Karo syrup and 1 cup light Karo syrup (Karo syrup is corn syrup – I imagine other sweeteners can be substituted.).  Mix well.
  • Gently add 6 eggs, 1 at a time, mixing as little as possible to incorporate.

  • Add 1 cup oats, preferably old-fashioned.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup toasted pecan pieces on bottom of unbaked pie shell.  Fill with mixture and decorate top w/ pecan halves.
  • Bake at 180 C or 350 F (slow oven) for 1 hour or until brown and no longer jiggling in middle.
  • This pie is wonderful with anything you like, substituting for pecans; try walnuts and apples, chocolate chips, coconut, etc.

    The most important ingredient in a pie is LOVE :)

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Jess Makowske | January 25, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Anna!!!

    Tank and I were just talking about you the other day! So good to see you made it to pie town… its about the only thing I break my gluten-free diet for. Did you meet any of the Kearneys? Pie Town is infamous in the climbing community out here because of those kids…

    Hope all is well in your journey and that Mexico is keeping you warm
    cheers

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