My pie credentials have arrived!
Today’s mail brought my parking permit and admission ticket to the Iowa State Fair, where I’ll be a pie judge next week. They were accompanied by a map of the fair, on which Arlette Hollister, the gracious food superintendent, has thoughtfully circled in red pen the Ellwell Family Food Center, the building where the food judging takes place.
The letter that came with this happy little group of documents begins, “Dear Judge…” Oh my goodness! Dear Judge! And as if that isn’t cool enough, it goes on to say that I should get to Elwell 15 minutes before the activities begin, so I can get my name tag and meet with the other judges in my division. “Meeting with the other judges,” Arlette says in the letter, “ensures a more professional image and helps you to be prepared to judge.”
Whatever professional air I might manage to assume, however, will certainly be shattered by this next bit:
“I would prefer that you cut your own servings,” Arlette says. “Cut a generous piece to better give you an idea of the entry.”
Um, let me think about that a second. Cut my own servings? No problem.
Arlette also enclosed a little hand-written note on her own stationery with step-by-step driving instructions from the airport to the Elwell Center. She also sent, under separate cover, computer-generated driving directions. Clearly, this woman is not to be outdone in the organizational-skills or major-hospitality departments. Wow. Way to make an out-of-stater feel welcome!
All of this is so heavenly that I can’t believe I have one more wonderful thing to tell you: I managed to rearrange things so that I can take piebaker Beth Howard up on her offer to come visit her in the small town of Eldon. We will bake pies together for her Pitchfork Pie Stand, located in the iconic American Gothic House, which Beth now calls home, and I’ll stay overnight there before heading to the airport in the morning. A pie slumber party! In the American Gothic House!
You might recall from my last post that Beth was the one who connected me with Arlette, making this pie-judging trip possible. She also hooked me up with her piebaking friend in Des Moines, Kathleen Beebout, who offered a complete stranger overnight lodging in her house, based only on our shared membership in Pie Nation. I’m mucho grateful to my generous hostesses in Iowa, who are passing on the Power of Pie in a bighearted way!
Can’t wait to get on the plane and get my Iowa pie on!