Every summer for the 4th of July I make my Grandma Ketchen's strawberry pie.  I've got the recipe in Grandma's handwriting, as part of a collection of many of her favorites. It starts with an oil crust, or as Grandma wrote 'liquid shortening'.  The baked shell is then filled with fresh strawberries, covered in a homemade strawberry glaze.  Once cooled, I top it off with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberry garnish.  Grandma is no longer with us, but I feel connected to her as I follow her notes, particularly when she reminds me that she 'heaps the cornstarch a bit' in the strawberry glaze.  Recipes are precious in this way; we put our own touches on them, often making notes in the margins on what worked and what didn't, or what we'd like to try next time.

At the library, we recently added 'Midwest Pie: Recipes that shaped a region' to our collection.  It's a small book, loaded with Midwest favorites such as Sour Cream Raisin Pie, Chokecherry Pie, and Mock Apple (Ritz Cracker) Pie.  I even found a recipe for No-Roll "Instant" Pie Crust, which closely resembles Grandma's.  There is a charming introduction that touches on the history of pies in the Midwest, and the editor adds interesting anecdotes at the start of each recipe.  Check it out and let me know if you find a new favorite!

Unfortunately, this year my glaze didn't fully thicken, so this weekend I'll be making a second pie; this time I'm taking another one of Grandma's suggestions and trying it with peaches 😊


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JS July 26, 2023, 4:42 pm Great story. My Grandma Inez Harrison was a prize-winning cook. Pies and pastries were her best. All the crust had rendered lard as the major ingredient. Where has the time gone? Yesterday I ended my 82nd orbit around our Sun. Tempus Fugit memento mori.