Happy Pi Day! With all the tough news concerning the ongoing pandemic, it is becoming harder to find reasons and venues to celebrate. In a search for things to do, I looked up activities for Saturday, March 14th. After I scrolled through about seven entries for 3/14, it occurred to me that today was Pi Day. With no good news making the headlines, there is a stark need to inject levity into the otherwise solemn year.
In high school, Pi day and Mole day were causes for celebration. Pi, roughly 3.14, is the ratio of a circle to its diameter, which makes Pi Day fall on March 14th. A mole (or mol) is a measurement of atomic or molecular weight and is represented by the equation 6.022 x 10 to the 23rd power, which means that Mole Day falls on October 23rd. Math classes celebrated with pie in the spring and chemistry classes partied with treats in the fall. With the monotony of high school class schedules a mini celebration in the middle of the semester was always a welcome diversion. Today, I feel a bit like a high school student; I am looking for something to distract me from my dull, grim rhythm. With some of my plans cancelled, the realization that Pi Day was upon us was the perfect Saturday amusement for me.
In the midst of the pandemic panic, I was unsure about what pie to bake today. On my last trip to the super market, I found the shelves to be exhausted of certain items including the baking basics like milk and eggs. When searching for pie recipes, I set my expectations low and made sure to have back-up plans in case the market was out of any one particular ingredient. I consider myself to be lucky today because the local Star Market was not as frenzied as news headlines suggested that the chains would be. While some items were scarce and shelves bare, the ingredients for the simple pie recipe were all in supply.
I decided to bake a pecan pie, which required that I acquire brown sugar, milk, a pie crust, eggs, pecans, vanilla extract, and butter. I searched several recipes and found great diversity in ingredient options. The more decadent varieties included corn syrup, while the healthier options forewent sugar and sweeteners instead opting for maple syrup or honey. Somewhat health conscious, I decided on the middle road option between the chemically contrived corn syrup and natural sweeteners and went for the classic brown sugar.
Baking the pie proved to simple. I opted for a pre-made pie crust (without this time-saving convenience I would have had to make the crust and let it refrigerate overnight). I also purchased pre-chopped pecans, which was another tiny time saver. To make the pie, I put a a stick of butter into a saucepan and melted it. I combined all other ingredients in a bowl and then added in the liquid butter. Just like that, I put everything into the pie crust and slid the tin into the oven for about an hour.
Sixty minutes later, the pie looked good. I let it cool, but perhaps not long enough because the filling was liquid-y. Honestly, the pie tasted like a childish concoction–it was terribly sugary. Although the outcome was less-than stellar, the pie was a welcome source of entertainment. Sometimes we just need distraction. When I am baking pie in my home, there is no coronavirus lurking around the corner. Reality cannot touch you when you are in your own little bubble. There’s nothing like a holiday to lift your spirits. Unfortunately (but also super necessarily!), all major St. Patrick’s Day festivities have been cancelled in Boston to help mitigate the spread of the virus, however, my experience with Pi Day encourages me to find new, small ways to make the holiday inside my own home.
Wishing you a hearty and healthy Pi Day.