Farewell (For Now) To My Pie Sister

I’m sad to say it’s over. Kate McDermott’s four pie-filled days with me in Washington, D.C., have come to a close and she’s downstairs packing her suitcase for a morning flight back to her little cottage in Washington state.

This woman who I knew months ago only through tweets, Facebook “likes” and emails is now my full-fledged pie sister. We prowled markets for supplies together for her two pie-making workshops. We cooked meals together, danced to music in my kitchen, and stayed up late talking about pie and telling stories. Opening my home to Kate has also welcomed in a host of people who came through the door to learn her art, and who want to stay in touch to bake and swap advice. I feel like I’m a fully initiated member of Pie Nation.

Kate helps with a heart-shaped vent for my blueberry pie.

Hopefully, we will expand that nation when more people read about Kate’s work in The Washington Post next month. We were lucky enough to have Food editor Bonnie Benwick and photographer Bill O’Leary with us, documenting the the Art of the Pie workshop magic. It was a crazy day in the kitchen, as the summer heat and humidity conspired to unravel everyone’s pie crusts before they could be neatly rolled

I learned a lovely rope pattern for finishing the edges.

into the pie pans. But as Kate showed the students, the dough is more forgiving than it’s reputed to be; she helped them patch up their pastry, and much of its raggedy look eased up in the oven.

I have taken away a truckload of priceless pie advice this weekend, from the variety of finishes for a pie’s edge to how to let go of numbers and rules and bake from the heart. But the most enduring impression I’ll carry of these days with Kate is her generosity of spirit and her wide-open, what-the-hell nature. She brought her little pink suitcase into the home of a stranger, on the faith that our shared love of pie would build community. And she was right. Somewhere between that first hug at the airport and our last supper–a heavenly meal she cooked for me of sautéed greens, garlic and steamed eggs–the power of pie made us sisters.

My pie necklace; Kate’s whisk necklace. Coincidence? I think not!

Thank you, Kate, for an unforgettable adventure and all that it brought to my life. I eagerly await the chance to take you up on your invitation of pie-making in that lyrical little cottage on the Olympic Peninsula.

  1. Stephanie Joseph
    I've so enjoyed reading about your weekend with Kate. I almost feel like I was there myself. I eagerly await the article in the Post.