Crying for Pie
By Anne Laker, Indianapolis Museum of Art
July 24, 1992. My first summer out of college. I’m working at my first real job, on assignment: to traverse the state gathering data about Indiana museums. While in Bluffton, Indiana, we stop at a restaurant called The Dutch Mill.
At this thoroughly Hoosier establishment, I order a slice of pie. Coconut custard pie with nuts, to be exact. The combination of textures–silky custard with crunchy nuts, smooth whipped cream against crumbly crust—makes me crazy with pleasure. I’m practically laughing with my mouth full.
But by the time the last bite of this confection is down my gullet, tears well in my eyes. I remember it clearly: I wept with joy because the pie was delightful, like a rich, sweet cloud, like transportation to a creamy heaven. And then I wept because the slice was gone.
Bite by bite, the bliss dwindled down to an empty plate.
Eating is the fastest passing pleasure. Thank heaven we usually get to do it three times a day. Our taste experiences are frequent and sometimes, more than memorable. As we find with the theme of this year’s Spirit & Place Festival, taste experiences create culture, define place, and feed memories.
I heard the Dutch Mill closed, re-opened, burned down, and re-opened again under new ownership. I don’t plan to go back to try to find that particular pie; even a new reality could never exceed the memory. But I hope to have my heart broken again by anything that delicious.
For discussion: Have you ever had a food this deliciously memorable? Please share!