The Pie of Dorian Gray, and other tidbits

Last week I made a pie. My first ever pie. Not one to be lured in by a classic recipe, I decided instead that my first attempt should be with a Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie. It sounded so delicious! And I had these lemons from the farmer's market that D instantly identified as Meyer lemons.

It was a beautiful pie. What can I say: this was an ideal pie for television. It was perfectly flaky-golden-crusty, with terribly authentic-looking crimps along the edges and holes cut in the top. There was just one problem: it was inedible. I don't want to blame this wholly on D's lemon-identification abilities, but those suckers were not Meyer lemons. Of course, D would probably blame the eye-crossing bitterness of the pie filling on the fact that I left the peel on the lemons. Look: the recipe didn't say to peel the damn things, and it is part and parcel of my manically literary way of relating to the world that I am an exact, some might say obsessive-compulsive, follower of recipes. (D, by contrast, went into the kitchen last night and made a delicious pesto and an odd but highly intriguing spiced, mashed yam dish without ever making reference to anything but his own whims.)

To his credit, however, D did perform (I choose my verb carefully here) the supreme act of love when I gave him the first slice of the photogenic, but deeply bitter pie. [It seems appropriate, since I am now in LA after several weeks' stay in London, that the food I make should feature Hollywood surfaces that skillfully conceal acerbic, neurotic inner lives. That's right, my pie had an inner life. It was my first EVER pie, alright?] He admired its appearance thoroughly, then gamely took the first bite. "Mmm...," he said, miraculously avoiding pulling a face of horror, "Tasty. The, um, crust is particularly good."

I took my first bite. "It is AWFUL!!" I yelled, at the top of my lungs. "No, no!" he replied, "Just a bit sour, that's all."

And then, when it became clear that we weren't going to be able to eat a second bite of the Pie of Dorian Gray, he (recipe-liberated as I have told you he is) tried to make sorbet out of the innards. And it was still awful. "That pie," I told D, "has broken my heart. Not the heart that loves you, but a separate 'pie' heart. It is like when I was little, and I convinced my parents that I had a separate 'dessert stomach' that explained how I could be too full to finish my dinner but still have plenty of room for dessert. My pie heart is broken. I may never love again."

So the next night, I just sat in front of the TV, despondent, and ate my empty, beautiful pie crust.

And that, my friends, is an allegory for life in Los Angeles.

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Other tidbits, many of which have been on my "To Blog" list for some time:

I am newly in love with the Apartment Therapy blog and its culinary sibling The Kitchn. While I was in London, The Kitchn introduced me to a delightful concept of the Iron Chef Party, in which guests are invited to participate in a cooking smackdown, eithers as chefs or judges. I love Iron Chef in both its Japanese and American incarnations, so I am saddened to think of how unlikely it is that I will be able to host such a party in the foreseeable future.

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Speaking of the foreseeable future, D brought this story to my attention with a level of enthusiasm that made me nervous that perhaps splinter-nationhood loomed in our future together: the lone inhabitant of a small Shetland island has declared independence from the UK. He calls his domain Forvik, and there is some good news for all the truly idealistic libertarians out there: he is opening his country's doors to new Forvikians!

"I also invite anyone from any country in the world, who supports these aims, namely to become free of liars, thieves and tyrants in government, to become a citizen of Forvik," he added.

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There is much more to be said, but that's all I have time for right now, I am sorry to say. I have to return to the Peach Caramel Pie I have in the oven. Hope springs eternal in the human pie-heart.

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