The Best Summer Muse


For the last couple of weeks I have been depressed, and I haven't been able to figure out why. I think some of this gloominess has to do with missing MusicX (I confirmed this with another Cincinnati composer who was also feeling a bit down; to liven our spirits we were fondly recalling "Philip Your Glass" at a musicology party), and some of this has to do with the god-awful humidity that consumes my brain and forces me to stay in my bedroom all day. Normally dressed in a tank top and ugly running shorts that I normally do not wear in public, I would sit and pathetically mope while aimlessly flipping through my Google Reader. Repeatedly.


But the humidity had not been so crippling lately, which meant I could bake PIE.


I mean, I could actually make pie instead of pitifully watching characters from Pushing Daisies or Waitress make pie. Why pie? Actually, baking is my composer thing to do when I'm feeling stuck or unproductive. Some composers take walks or naps or play video games to help them compose. I bake.


I used to bake a little more frequently when I was younger and a little...zaftig. My last huge baking spree was when I was finishing up my last year at USC and I was finishing music for my recital. Once, one of my roommates walked in, smelled cookies baking, and declared I was composing. She was right.



Baking cookies or doing an activity you enjoy can help your mind solve problems because you are doing something passive and relaxing, which is why some people solve simple problems in the shower, for example. Of course, baking cookies is easier than baking pie. Unfortunately, this project may have stressed me out a tiny bit, which was against my intentions.


I decided to make peach pie and so I drove to Trader Joe's and purchased one of their crates of peaches that happily greeted me when I entered the store. (Did you know it's national peach month? Did you also know it was national lasagna day or national cheesecake day? Who on earth makes this stuff up?) I also bought their frozen pie crusts, which are made from real butter.



Is using a ready-made pie crust cheating? My thoughts of cheating were quashed when I experienced the drudgery of preparing peaches. I had a hard time peeling these peaches even though I blanched and scored them. Why? They weren't ripe yet. This was my first genius baking move.


My second genius move involved the ready-made crust. I know, how can you mess this up? You can. See the picture below.



If I were attempting to fake a homemade crust, I should have used my heavy marble rolling pin and flattened out the dough disks a little more. That way, I could have some extra dough hanging over the pie pan to seal and flute the edges. What you see here is my attempt to Frankenstein-stitch the bottom and top crusts. I initially thought this worked.



The pie still looks tasty, I mean, I'd still eat it. What I didn't realize is that this Frankenstein-stitching technique did not seal the crust, thus causing some of the bubbling filling to leak. When the pie cools and you have to cut it, the crust sticks to the glass, and your slice could end up looking like this:



Of course, who says the first-cut slice looks the prettiest? I still ate this slice while thinking that maybe I'd make a better composer than baker. Tasty.

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