Buttermilk Chess Pie & Celebrating National Pi Day with John Boehner & the Pentaverate

I’m on a brief blog hiatus for the next few days, so I thought posting some of my favorite posts from the past would be a good way to fill in until I got a new blog post up.  This post is from March 14, 2011

Last week was a horrible week.  It’s been rough on a very personal level – bad news was in the air and I’ve had to watch people I love get put through the wringer.  My mind has been inundated with images of human devastation and suffering that has made my heart ache.  It’s hard to feel so powerless to help others.  When I start feeling overwhelmed by the misery, I remind myself that I am one person so I do what I can (Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders), tell the people that matter to me that I love them.  And then I retreat into the kitchen.  I cook for the ones I love and try to find reasons to laugh - usually by mocking the absurd and ridiculous which helps me cope.  That’s what this post is about.

I love food holidays like National Pi Day.  First of all, the act of making pie on Pi day seems more credible to me than most other food holidays.  So many of them seem absurd.  Like a group of politicians got together, got drunk, and started trying to figure out how to save the world with the kinds of plans that seem to make so much sense when you’re under the influence of alcohol – you know like the time that I was sure that if we just could give the world a Coke and teach them how to sing in perfect harmony, we could all live in peace together.  Except I thought that rum and Cokes would be more appropriate because that’s what I was drinking and I sure as hell felt peaceful.

Anyway – I like to think that food holiday discussions go something like this:

Scene: Secret GOP Meeting where the margaritas & salsa are present in copious quantitites.

John Boehner: You know what will create more jobs?  A tax cut for the manufacturers of sunless tanning products.

Mitch McConnell: Dude – You & Lindsey Lohan keep them in business just with your purchases alone.  Joe!  Quit hogging the margaritas!

Joe Biden: S’up.

Mitch McConnel: Joe – seriously, you are the only person I know who gets quieter when they drink. And why the hell is he here?  This is a secret GOP meeting.

John: Everyone knows that Joe makes the best margaritas.

Mitch: Noted.  Alright people – we need to figure out how to solve the budget crisis.

John: Screw the budget crisis.  You know what I love?  Marshmallow fluff.

Rand Paul: {passes out in bowl of salsa}

Mitch: Somebody needs to cut Rand off.  Anyway – what we were talking about?

John: Making tomorrow National Marshmallow Fluff Day. That will stimulate the economy.  Marshmallow fluff for all!

Mitch: Sounds good to me.  March 16 is now National Marshmallow Fluff Day.  Joe – pass the margaritas.

Joe: S’up.

Mitch: Dude – you’re freaking me out.

This type of scenario makes perfect sense.  To me, at least.  For example – March 10 is Blueberry Popover day.  Obviously the Blueberry Popover lobby is a strong force to reckon with.  And March 24 is National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day.  When the Pentaverate is finally exposed for the evil, power-hungry organization that it is, we’ll finally find out that CEO of Raisinets has been cloistered away with the Colonel (with his wee beady eyes) and that they plan to take over the world using a gum wrapper, fried chicken and candy that looks like rabbit turds.

I’m also a fan of Pi day because I am married to a man that can recite pi to 15 places without batting an eye.  And he’s wearing his pi shirt today.  Any day that makes nerds happy makes me happy.

Mainly though, I like Pi day because it gives me an excuse to make a pie.  And pie is made of awesome sauce.

The buttermilk chess pie in Nancy McDermott’s book, Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, From Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan, caught my eye at first glance.  I love southern pies, mainly because they take the mundane, everyday ingrediants that Southerners would have on hand and turn them into something elegant and delicious.  It doesn’t hurt that I have ready access to Cruze Farm’s Buttermilk.  Ten out of ten people agree that it comes from happy cows and angels.

I’ve been testing quite a few different pie crusts lately, looking for my holy grail recipe.  This is going to be a long process so I can’t award any winners yet, but I’m very fond of the recipe for a butter/shortening crust that I tried from Nancy’s book.  I’d love to be able to use leaf lard for my crusts but I haven’t found a local source.  Until then, I’m going to stick with butter.  I like this crust recipe because it’s predominantly made with butter but has just enough shortening to up the flakiness factor.

The verdict on this pie?  I put a forkful in my mouth and sighed.  This pie is so good that it could end scary partisan rhetoric and balance the budget.  This pie is so good that it could create a world where Joe Biden could mix margaritas with John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and yes – even Rand Paul – all while crooning in a peaceful harmony.

This is a damn fine pie.  Eat a piece, hug the ones you love and donate if you haven’t already.


For some reason, my recipe wouldn’t transfer over and rather than drive myself crazy, I’m providing a link to the original post. Recipe is at the bottom.


6 Comments on Buttermilk Chess Pie & Celebrating National Pi Day with John Boehner & the Pentaverate

  1. Jenni
    January 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm (2 years ago)

    I thought that’s how these things happened. Thanks for clearing that up!

    • Kristina
      January 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm (2 years ago)

      I lived in DC for two years and had many friends who worked in government. This is totally how things get done there. :D

  2. Tanaz
    January 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm (2 years ago)

    My husband just did Pi to 17 digits. Geeks of the world unite.

    • Kristina
      January 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm (2 years ago)

      You can’t see me, but I’m making the Vulcan salute at you guys.

      • Tanaz
        January 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm (2 years ago)

        He’s saluting back at you:)
        That pie looks so good, but I don’t do pies. They don’t like me. I just like to eat them. I was just at the store and apparently Wed. is pie day so they had a sale on their pies. They looked so bad, even I could have made better looking ones.

        • Kristina
          January 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm (2 years ago)

          Marcus is a pie whisperer. And no – that is not a euphemism for anything. :) If you ever want to try pie crust, let us know, and he can talk you through it. If not, the Trader Joe’s pie crust is very good.


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