Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pie vs. Cake

apricot cherry pie

On Election Day, I’m troubled by the direction of our country.  So much partisanship!  People seem unable to come together to work towards a common goal.  They accuse one another of being elitist or ignorant. 

Nowhere does this seem more prevalent than in the culture wars.  And who started this, anyway.  Pie vs. Cake indeed.  Did these people only have one kid?  How can you love one more than the other?  So I ask you: Can’t we all get along?

persian dreams cake 2

In the spirit of reconciliation, I’m not going to suggest pie or cake is elitist.  The fact that we say ‘it’s a piece of cake’ and ‘easy as pie’ suggests to me that neither is elitist.  And far be it from me to suggest either is ignorant. 

Random Order Pumpkin
Pumpkin Pie at Random Order

I’ve always thought one of the great things about being an American, besides getting to vote today, is not having to make these kinds of decisions.  We can have our cake, and our pie, and eat them too. 

birthday cake 2010
My birthday cake this year, Lane Cake

I’m afraid I’ve been a little guilty, in the past year, of seeming to favor cake.  But it’s not true.  I’ve been even-handed when faced with the choice.  I eat blackberry pie, I eat Devil’s Food Cake.  I could never give up either. 

I hope I haven’t bad-mouthed pie.  Personally, I plan on eating plenty of pie later this month, and cake as well.  I have my 10 cakes in 2010 to finish baking, as well as a daughter’s birthday.  Next year her birthday will fall on Thanksgiving once again—we’ll celebrate by having both pie and cake that day. 

Woodlawn Apple
Apple Pie at Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry

How about you?  What can you do to help make the world more pleasant?  I’ve already voted (it’s all by mail here in Oregon), so I think I’ll go out for a piece of pie later this morning.  And have a piece of cake tonight.  I think Election Day calls for a simple yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  You can never go wrong with that.

I know it’s a bit of a sacrifice, eating pie and cake on the same day.  But let’s all give it a try.  Just to show we can all get along, if we try.  One slice at a time.

birthday cake pavel 045
 Flo Braker's Signature Yellow Cake, birthday cake for Pavel last year

I’m listing some of the places I’ve been eating pie in Portland.  I know the Oregonian recently did a pie roundup, and I have to say I think they did Random Order—and pies—a disservice.  I like apples to break down a bit in my pie, and Random Order’s is perfect in my book.  But then, in a later piece, they also suggested you have pie at Shari’s.  The attraction there, apparently, is that it’s open 24 hours a day.  If I were you, I’d go ahead and get a little extra sleep, and head over to one of these places the next morning instead:

Sour Cherry Apricot Pie
 That sour cherry and apricot pie, getting ready to bake

Random Order, 1800 NE Alberta, (503) 331-1420
My favorites are the sour cherry (not at all gloppy), coconut cream, and any of the apple pies.  They have a huge selection.

Fleur de Lis, 3930 NE Hancock, (503) 459-4887
So far I’ve only had their apple, but I’ve heard pumpkin shows up as well.  They only seem to make one or two a day, so you might want to call before heading over.

Woodlawn Bakery, 808 NE Dekum, (503) 954-2412
They’ve recently opened, so I’ve had their apple pie only a couple of times.  Sometimes it’s a bit sweeter than I like, but I appreciate that they are make them with different types of apples at different times.  Kind of makes you feel as if you ought to visit again, just to check.

As for cake, well, I’ll take a chance here and say I think there’s a real shortage of layer cakes available by the slice here in town.  I wish someone would look into that.  In the meantime, I usually eat cake at home.  I’ll be doing that tonight.

Here’s some additional reading on the pie vs. cake wars.  It does seem as if the pie camp is a bit more outspoken:
Huffington Post Pie vs. Cake 10-30-07
Utne Reader: Pie vs. Cake: The Debate Rages On 12-23-08
Salon: Pie (in the name of love) 12-20-08
March Madness: The Cake vs. Pie Tournament Ok, that is kind of fun, but people, please. ‘Boston Cream Pie’ is a cake.  ‘Birthday’ and ‘Wedding’ are not actual types of cake.  And ‘Funfetti’ is just an abomination.
Hyperbole and a Half: Cake Versus Pie: A Scientific Approach  An amusing piece, complete with graphs and pie charts.


Joanna said...

I'm not sure if I've already mentioned this, but I had exceptionally good banana cake in Portland recently - from an unexpected source: Rose's on NW 23rd. Really. It was 5 layers, as moist as could be, no nuts - and frosted simply with sweetened, fresh whipped cream. Apparently, it is baked by Beaverton Bakery, using Rose's signature recipes.

And...available by the slice!

Just so you know...

Giovanna said...

I love a cake frosted with whipped cream. Was that the filling as well? Field trip!

Thérèse said...

All I can say is vive la différence!

Giovanna said...

Exactly. And enjoy it while we have it!

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