Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie - Beth Howard
Released April 2012
Beth M. Howard
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
First off, have Kleenex handy when reading Making Piece. I admit I can tear up at the smallest things - Hallmark ads, a momentous event with my teens, a touching movie - and Beth Howard certainly had me tearing up. This really is a poignant story of love, loss, and pie.
Shortly after asking her husband for a divorce, Beth Howard received the call that I think most women fear. Her husband was dead. Not that it was her fault, but the author blamed her demand for a divorce as being the thing that "broke" his heart. While coping with her grief, Beth set off on a journey exploring one item that took her back to her childhood, pie.
Pie is how her parents met. It's something that bonded her with her father. It's also the one thing that she gave up a lucrative career to work in a bakery making pies. Pies became her way of dealing with her grief and moving on with her life.
Making Piece explores this journey from start to finish. It's a powerful story that had me in the kitchen on an almost-90 degree day making strawberry rhubarb pies. (Though I admit I cheated and used the organic pre-made crusts I had sitting in the freezer. It was too hot to bother making the pie crust too.) My rhubarb patch is overflowing, and as I'm the only one in our house that eats rhubarb, I'm always trying to find ways to use it up. Making pies and freezing them works for me!
My grandmother - and I think most of use learned pie making from our grandmothers - never used butter or vegetable shortening in her crusts. Lard was the thing she said was essential to making the perfectly flaky crust. I used to use lard exclusively too, but a vegetarian daughter makes it hard to stick to that, so I'll be testing out the author's crust next time.
I'm thrilled I read this book. It brought to light the dessert that I love and is often overlooked to today's trend of molten lava cakes, cupcakes, and creme brulees. If you want a touching memoir that inspires you to get into your kitchen, you really need to pick up Beth Howard's Making Piece.
Visit the author's website devoted to pies at The World Needs More Pie.