17 October 2013

Cake Vs. Pie -- A Great Southern Debate



There has been a great debate going on lately.  Cake Versus Pie.  I took the words below directly from the New York Times, which seems like a strange home for a Southern food debate, but these ladies put their arguments much more eloquently that I ever could and each makes quite a convincing case.  I grew up with just about equal amounts of cake and pie, so I can very easily see both sides.  I have a personal preference for cake, but I think it's just  because I haven't found a homemade pie crust I think is perfect yet.  A pie crust perfected might sway me in the direction of pie, but a perfect chocolate cake is a thing of beauty and I will feel that way forever. 

What do you think?  Do you love cake?  Are you passionate about pie?  Or maybe you're a cobbler knida guy/gal?  Just wonderin' what other folks think.


Check out what these lovely ladies have to say about it:


Kat Kinsman:
Unlike its gussied-up and admittedly lovely cousin, cake, the humble pie is born of economy and austerity — a testament to its makers’ thriftiness, prowess and sensibility.
As we all know, in the South, there is perhaps no currency more vaunted and valuable than having a recipe with an ingredient that no one else can figure out.
So while there is now a particular canon of classic pie formats — your fruit pies, cream pies, nut pies, custard pies, chocolate pies, meringue pies, molasses pies, mince pies, sweet potato pies, onion pies à la Eudora Welty, savory meat pies, not to mention single crust, double crust, lattice crust, hand pies and so on — there is enough variance to allow each happy homemaker to put her own stamp upon it. And believe that hers is the superior version.
Pie is naked, unapologetic and honest. It eschews geometric perfection and requires no extra adornment. What it does need is communion.
When you bake a pie, you are in the kitchen in the company of ghosts. If you are crafting a crust, it’s most likely because at some point in your life, someone thought well enough of you to stand beside you at a counter and gift the muscle memory from her hands to yours.
Where cake is for celebration, pie is for affirmation. When a friend is about to embark upon an undertaking that might require some sustenance and fortitude, you might send along a hand pie for his or her journey — a substantial pocket filled with your best wishes in a way a cupcake never could. You roll that pie.
And when there is sadness — an end of love, a decline of the corporeal, a cinching-in of income ... or even a loss of life, you know what to do. Any Southern woman worth her Memama’s box of index cards does.
You tie on your apron, you flour the counter, you pick up that pin and You. Roll. Pie.
 
Kim Severson:
Like family and church, cake is a pillar of Southern culture.
One has a wedding cake, not a wedding pie. (Unless, like my worthy opponent, one is overly influenced by the Brooklyn hipster culture.)
When a child turns 1, countless parents across the country watch that child dive into a cake, not a pie.
In the South, people do not set aside weeks to make Christmas pie, but they do to make the Christmas cakes, filling side boards with layered, frosted tradition.
And they don’t try to break you out of prison with a pie.
Cake names are euphemistic, as delicious as the cakes themselves. The hummingbird cake, the red velvet cake, the lady cake, the charlotte russe, the lemon cheese cake, which has not a drop of cheese in it.
In 1898, Emma Rylander Lane put a recipe in a book called “Some Good Things to Eat.” It made her famous. Just ask Harper Lee, who lived three hours away from Clayton, Ala., where Mrs. Lane invented her cake. The Lane Cake, not the Lane Pie, was a minor character in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Eudora Welty knew the power of the cake. She used cake – not pie — as a metaphor for race and family in her novel “Delta Wedding.” She and other writers knew that the language of cake, their hierarchy — the picnic caramel cake, the fancy wedding cake, the voodoo patti cake — all meant something more than any collection of pie ever could.
For Southern women, the better the cake, the higher the social status. Everyone in town knew who made the best ones. White society ladies who couldn’t bake swore black cooks to secrecy and claimed those perfect cakes as their own.
The cake, I put to you, is the sweet tangible talisman of the South. It is connection, tradition, mother and love.
 
Click here if you would like to read the whole article for yourself.

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