David Eide – Opinions Columnist
There’s a topic that’s been swirling around in my head for some time but I’ve always held back from writing on it for fear of inspiring too much controversy and backlash. What is this topic? It is of course, my vast collection of pie hot takes, some of which may stun and amaze you. I have a healthy, or perhaps unhealthy, affection for this style of dessert and I consider myself something of a connoisseur. Consequently, I think it would be enjoyable to share my perspective on some of the most popular varieties of pie in the hopes of inspiring the same level of passion I have for pies in anyone who happens to come across this article.
Let’s start with the many varieties of fruit pie, since in my experience they’re often the default image that comes to mind when pie is mentioned. In my honest opinion, fruit pies as a whole are kind of overrated. Especially in comparison to how prominent they are in the general discussion of the dessert. This is not to say that I would turn down an offering of a fruit pie if it were presented to me, only that I think the other varieties of pie have better offerings on average. There are two big exceptions to my assertion, however. The first big exception is apple pie which is probably up in my top three overall kinds of pie. I know it might be a bit of a cop-out to say I think fruit pies are overrated to then turn around and say I really like one of the most popular fruit pies. A pie that has come to be seen as nearly synonymous with a somewhat kitschy style of Americana. But the fact is, I really like apple pie. There’s just something about the way that the flavors of the apples, the filling, the cinnamon spice, and the crust come together that make apple pies so much more appealing to me than other fruit pies. The other big type of fruit pie that I enjoy is strawberry rhubarb pie. This might seem like a bit of a surprise since strawberry rhubarb is a somewhat divisive variety, but I think a large part of that stems from the fact that this pie is difficult to make correctly. When it’s done incorrectly, the result can be quite gross but when care is taken to make sure there is just the right amount of strawberry and rhubarb present, that’s when the results can be divine.
Another pie category that I have strong opinions on is the cream pies, also known as the type of pies that get thrown into people’s faces. Overall, I like this variety. Banana cream pie is probably the best of the bunch in my opinion, although chocolate cream pie isn’t far behind. I appreciate the texture of these pies, the way they just sort of melt in your mouth while the flavors of the filling and the crust complement each other simultaneously. On the other hand, one of my least favorite pie varieties happens to be adjacent to cream pies: the key lime pie. This might be one of my more controversial opinions as I know a lot of people enjoy key lime pie, but I just can’t stand it. Something about the taste has never sat quite right with me and no matter how many times I’ve had people claim to me that this particular key lime pie will show me why this dish is so beloved by so many, none have succeeded in swaying me. It’s somewhat odd too as I quite like lemon meringue pie, which isn’t that much different from a key lime pie. But I guess that’s just how things go sometimes.
Finally, let’s have a look at some of the miscellaneous pies that are hard to categorize; a group that happens to include some of my favorite kinds of pie. My all-time favorite has got to be Pecan Pie. I absolutely love the filling and the way in which it balances out with the pecans on top, especially when it has a healthy heaping of whipped cream on top. It’s to the point where even when pecan pies are mass-produced without much concern for craft, I still find them delicious. Of course, no discussion of pies or pie-like desserts can go without mentioning pumpkin pie. I also happen to like pumpkin pie, it’s something of a comfort food for me. Whenever I eat pumpkin pie, it feels like I’m transported back to the happy Thanksgivings or Christmases of my childhood, and I think that is the case for a lot of other people as well. While pecan pie still has it beat in the flavor department, in terms of emotional attachment, pumpkin pie is definitely the winner.
I think that there’s something to be said about the emotional appeal foods have to us, pie or otherwise. The experience of a dish isn’t just the immediate taste associated with eating it, but with all the memories and emotions that have become tied together with it. So, the next time you sit down to eat your favorite kind of pie or whatever other dessert you happen to enjoy, perhaps take a bit of time to consider how other experiences besides just pure flavor may factor into your preferences.