Agnes Williams

  City of Birth:
New Orleans

Agnes's Story

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Life in the South (1950-2007)
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Agnes's Story > Chapters > Life in the South

"Pies in the Window Sills" 


Date Range: 01/01/1950 To 12/31/2007   Comments: 2   Views: 14,494
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My mother really enjoyed baking. She took great pride in producing fresh pastries and breads and desserts. But her coup de grace was making homemade pies. She was quite famous for them. She would take fresh ingredients of the season and make pies that were so rich just a tiny slice would more than fill you up. She was a master of pie crusts. She tried to teach us how to, but none of us could ever quite get her knack down just right. Hers had the perfect flakiness and consistency and not too heavy but strong enough to hold the filling. The trick is in the mixing and how much water you put into the crust for consistency. It was an intuitive feel she had for just how much was needed and often times things such as the temperature of the oven of the humidity in the weather made all the difference.

Blueberry and cherry, apple crumb, pumpkin, rhubarb, key lime, lemon merangue, maple syrup sugar pie, and a chocolate silk pie that tasted like an angel melting in your mouth.

We had pie almost every day at dinner time. Pie or cobblers. She'd try to time it to serve them warm with a little bit of fresh cream. They were just sinfully delicious.

There was a rash of pie thefts one summer. My mother did the proverbial pie cooling on the window sill when it was hot outside. The pies would disappear.

We were sure it was some of the neighborhood boys doing it, but they were really sneaky and we never caught them - not once! I remember I would do chores in the kitchen with one eye glued to my precious dessert. Sure enough, I would turn my back to focus on something and the pie would be gone! It was like someone was watching right into the kitchen although we couldn't see them. I remember being a little bit uncomfortable about being watched like that.

My mother tried tying bells to the pie tin, but we found them lying in the grass cut away. She tried to keep them indoors but it made the kitchen even hotter during those steamy summer months (this was before air conditioning remember).

One day my mother was so fed up that she tried something new. She baked laxatives right into the pie. She told me to go clean my room in a very loud voice and then went to go to the laundry on the other side of the house. The pie was gone when we came back a while later. She smiled and patted my hand.

We never did figure out who the pie thief or thieves were, even after listening for neighborhood gossip about someone's boy having a bad case of stomach ailments, but after that, the pie ring gang took fewer and fewer pies until the thievery stopped and we went back to eating our mother's wonderful pies in peace.

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Member Since
Aug 2008
Adara Bernstein said:
posted on Sep 07, 2008

Now i'm hungry for a REALLY good pie!!!!!! i hate cooking pastries. They are so difficult. I'm sure someone in the neighborhood knew who the culprit(s) were!

Member Since
Feb 2009
MaryHelen Cuellar said:
posted on Apr 02, 2009
Thanks for the memories Agnes

This is a wonderful story; such description; you are a gifted writer.  It brought back such wonderful memories of my grandmother's pies.