21 November 2020

Pecan Pie

About thirty years ago there appeared on 24th Street a few doors east of Castro an enterprise known as Noe Valley Bakery. It flourished owing to the high quality of its baked goods; and I routinely bought the sublime asiago cheese bread, a delicious loaf with rich veins of cheese.

And since I was in there, I’d often pick up something small and sweet from the wide variety of choices. But then, when I started having to slash my carbohydrate intake, my visits became less and less frequent.

Ten years ago, they put out a tee-shirt emblazoned “Born and Raised in Noe Valley”, so witty that it was snapped up almost as rapidly as their pastries. Shortly after it appeared, I mentioned to the countergirls that it really ought to be “Born and Risen” owing to the difference in meaning, transitivity, and conjugation of the verbs “rise” and “raise”. This suggestion met with, at best, indifference.

Not that I stopped going in. By this time I’d discovered their pecan pie, offered seasonally from just before Thanksgiving until just after the New Year. As a southern boy, I loved my mother’s pecan pie and even made it for myself a few times, but this bakery’s pie was undeniably superior to my mother’s. Her crust was as good, her pecans were as good, but their filling was much better. It had by no means turned into health food, but it was somehow lighter and not as cloyingly sweet. Forgive me, mother.

Over the years I’ve bought that pie to take to others, and the response has been invariable. In every case it was declared to be “better than mother’s”.

Last Tuesday it struck me that the season was probably about to begin, so I called ’em up and discovered that this year’s premiere would be in two days. Gotta have one.

I figured they’d probably sell out before the day was over and that I’d better get there early. So I did. I hit ’em at 8:30 this morning, asked for a pie, and learned that I’d cut it rather close since the one on display was the only one left.

I snatched it home, thinking about how I might carve it up and pass around slices. But when I took it out of the box I realized that I needed to sample it to make sure the quality remained up to standard.

Oh hell, might as well go ahead and have lunch.

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