In the Pie of Life

Since childhood, pie has been a part of my life. As a teenager, each night my dad and I would negotiate over the last slice, and in rough times, sliver. Our respective sweet tooths were discriminating but not discriminatory, as content always took precedent over form. We always welcomed tasty tarts, cobblers, crisps, and of course pie. So today when my mom pulls out my grandmother’s Settlement Cookbook and its worn binding magically opens to the butter-stained, strawberry-rhubarb cobbler page my taste buds start tingling. Mouth watering instinctively follows as the golden biscuit-topped jewel emerges from the oven. People always ask me what is my favorite pie, to which I inevitable disappoint, by saying I have none. Proper ratios trump pie genre. I always thought I was a tart, fruit pie lover, but I love having my tongue swept off its palate by a coconut cream or pecan pie eating experience. It’s not about the type of pie, but about texture and ratios: flakiness, filling viscosity, crust to filling, sweet to sour, etc. For me, pie eating is a spiritual experience. The anticipation of the first bite is as rewarding as the bite itself. One must celebrate and respect the pie and the sources of its ingredients. Pie, at least those made with love, reminds me of the values I try to live by – respect, love, patience, presence, and persistence. Though I have yet to find the perfect slice of pie, and in some ways hope I never do, these images share some of my pie highlights from Tucson to South Africa.

In addition to these images, I recently produced my first multimedia piece about pie. In July 2009, I participated in a course at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in multimedia storytelling with Bob Sacha, a multimedia producer at MediaStorm in NYC and veteran contract photographer for National Geographic. In this intensive workshop, I decided to create a brief multimedia story called “Josie: Pie-O-Neer” about Josie Gallegos, a pie legend in Santa Fe, NM. You can view my story at on his home page under the title “The real Santa Fe” on July 14, 2009.