A late 2011 release, I think Pie by Sarah Weeks may have squeaked in as my favorite book of 2011. Generally being a fan of both action and angst in my reading choices, I often lose interest in books with recipes, books that have exceedingly happy endings or books that feature unbelievably nice characters, but somehow this book contained all of those elements and managed to keep me enthralled.
Pie takes place in the small town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania in the 1950’s. The story opens with the death of Ipswitch’s most famous resident, Polly Portman. Polly is famous because of her extraordinary pies that have earned her 13 coveted Blueberry Awards, a national award. This coupled with the fact that Polly gives the pies away for free brings people from all over the country to the small town. When Polly Portman dies suddenly, the entire town is left trying to figure out how to live without her famous pies. To make matters worse, Polly has left meticulous notes on how to make her pie fillings, but not her delicious pie crust. To everyone’s dismay, the pie crust recipe has been left to Polly’s cat, Lardo. Polly’s beloved niece, Alice, inherits fat, cantankerous Lardo and is therefore thrust into the spotlight as people from miles around try to hunt down Polly’s famous pie crust recipe. The recipe is so sought after that Lardo is kidnapped from Alice’s house and Alice and her friend Charlie must start an investigation of all of the town’s people to retrieve Lardo.
This book is filled with charm. The language Sarah Weeks uses to describe Ipswitch and its inhabitants is delightful. Scattered throughout the book are Alice’s original songs which sound like 1950’s advertising jingles. Finally, recipes for Polly’s pies open each chapter and are sure to inspire many bakers to try making them.
Posted by: Kelly