Synopses & Reviews
You know you're going on a quest for pie, but you may find something else entirely. Be prepared.
These were the prophetic words uttered to Pascale Le Draoulec as she began her cross-country journey. When offered a job in New York, she chose to drive rather than fly into her new life. As a food writer, she decided to turn an ordinary move into a culinary quest. She chose pie as her grail and guide, because, after all, what's more American than pie?
Crossing class and color lines, and spanning the nation (from Montana Huckleberry to Pennsylvania Shoo-Fly), pie -- real, homemade pie -- has meaning for all of us. But in today's treadmill take-out world, our fast-food nation, does pie still have a place? As a first-generation American raised by two quintessentially French parents, Le Draoulec knew much more about tartes than pies, but as she made her way across the United States, she discovered that mentioning homemade pie to anyone made faces soften, shoulders sigh, and memories come wafting back; that everyone she met had a fond memory of pie.
Le Draoulec and Betty the Volvo (her trusty automotive sidekick) meandered from town to town, meeting the famous and sometimes infamous pie makers in each place, like the little old ladies of Wasta, South Dakota (pop. 70), who had been baking pies from scratch to serve, and sell, on Election Day. They found themselves going head to head with state officials when South Dakota outlawed the sale of food at elections.
Le Draoulec's story, based on her adventure serialized in the Gannett newspapers, will entertain and move readers as she seeks to answer the question of the place of pie in today's world.
An engaging, quirky travelogue and adventure-cookbook brings back from the highways and backroads a homemade slice of America. 30 photos.
Why Pie? For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to take the back roads across America and get to know this country a little better. So when I was offered a job in New York there was no question that I would drive rather than fly into my new life.
In my San Francisco kitchen, I spent days staring at maps trying to decide which route to take cross-country. As a food writer, it made sense to turn the long drive into a culinary quest.
I chose pie as my grail because what could be more American than pie? You can find pie in every state and most Americans have some personal connection with pie.
As the daughter of French immigrants who never ate pie growing up, I was also curious about the myth of pie in America. What was this iconic dessert every American wanted "a piece of?"
I'd barely left the Western states when I realized that while I was looking for pies with character, I was finding a lot of characters who love pie.
Once I got to my new newspaper job in New York, I wrote a series of articles about my adventures on the American pieways. The response from readers was so overwhelming I knew I'd have to go back out on the road, hit the states I'd missed and write a book about this whimsical journey.
From the windswept plains of South Dakota to the bayous of Louisiana my search led me to some pretty extraordinary Americans who shared their lives, their recipes, and, sometimes, even a piece of pie with me. --Pascale Le Draoulec
About the Author
Pascale Le Draoulec is the restaurant critic for the New York Daily News. Her stories ran over the Gannett wire service and in USA Today among other magazines and newspapers. She lives in New York City. This is her first book.