There are great debates that have raged on for years:
Betty or Veronica? (Veronica)
Ginger or Mary Ann? (Mary Ann)
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? (Beatles)
Dogs or Cats? (Dogs)
Creamy or Crunchy? (Creamy)
Pancakes or Waffles? (Seriously? Pancakes are nothing compared to Waffles)
Paper or Plastic? (Who cares?)
People have opinions about all those things and will defend them to the death, but there is one debate I've never understood: Pie vs Cake.
When Erin and I started dating, she was a "cake person". Engrained so deeply that she couldn't comprehend how anyone could prefer pie to cake. She thought I was so strange for being a pie person. There was nothing spongey. There was no frosting. We don't have pie on birthdays. Cake must be better.
Whenever we talked about cake versus pie, my argument was always the same "You just haven't had a good pie yet. You need to try one of my grandma's pies, and we'll never have this conversation again."
I had taken my wife to meet my grandparents previously, but there was never an opportunity to bring her into the fold. Christmas a few years ago was my first shot at converting my wife to the righteous path. My grandma always makes pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she is a pie genius. Some people can play piano. Some can do ridiculous calculations in their heads. Others remember meaningless facts (raises hand). My grandma makes pies like I'm sure Monet painted.
She of course didn't believe me. One slice of pie was never going to convert her. She had a lifetime of prefering cake. And we all know how hard it is to change someone's mind when they're so entrenched in their opinion. Try converting a lifelong Dodgers fan into a Giants fan. They'll continue liking something even though it is obviously wrong just because they've been misguided for so long. It's easier to stay in that same rut and not admit you've been wrong all those years.
She had made a blackberry/raspberry pie on this particular night, and I knew my wife didn't stand a chance. It didn't even take a whole pie. She didn't even need a whole slice. She was done after one bite. She turned to me before the fork even left her mouth. I believe the exact quote was "Oh my god, you're right." You see she had been eating pie for years that just wasn't up to snuff. The crust wasn't nearly flaky or sweet enough. The filling was too sugary or messy. But this was the perfect storm of deliciousness. She was off the cake train and hopping aboard the pie express. She knew from that point on she would never be a cake person again and has been working on converting the non-believers ever since.
The real reason that cake is so much more popular than pie is the same reason I'm writing this post. Easy as pie is the most misleading expression ever. Pie is hard. It takes care and attention. It takes perfect measurements. The dough needs to be tended to a very exact way. Overworking it is just as bad as underworking it (sometimes worse). The oven needs to be the right temperature which usually needs to be adjusted at some point during the baking. Knowing when to take it out is more about the look of it than it is about a timer going off. Letting it cool is a must, so being patient is rewarded. Cake on the other hand is easy. You pour all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it. You pour it in a pan and bake it for a set amount of time. People prefer quick and easy, but that doesn't mean it is better.
Parenting is like pie. It's not easy, but it isn't supposed to be. Working at it makes it that much sweeter. You learn from what you've done wrong to do it better the next time around. You need the input of others to really do it right, but you want to be the hands that shape the dough. There are more types and varieties of pie than I could ever imagine just like there are more types of parents than can ever be imagined.
As a final side note, Erin wants so badly to learn how to make pie just like my grandma. That is one of the great joys of family. We pass along what we learn to the next generation. We hand over our family secrets to our children who had it on to their children. Because what is a recipe without someone to share it with? The recipe that my grandma uses to make her pies could be the same recipe my great-grandchildren use to make theirs. There is something very comforting and reassuring about that. As is the thought that our girls and their kids are going to be dyed to the wool pie people.