Will Call: Slice of life | PostIndependent.com

Will Call: Slice of life

Take the poll!

As the Post Independent’s unofficial chief correspondent on the subject, I’m contractually obligated to write about pie this week.

OK, that’s not true. I could have written about the Ides of March, and I seriously considered it.

Pie, however, is one of those things generally considered frivolous that a core demographic take very seriously.

The passing of Pi Day gives me an opportunity to discuss one of the topic’s essential questions: What is pie?

Now, before we tackle that conundrum, let me address the concerns of a handful of outraged mathletes. I’m sorry that your celebration of an important mathematical constant has been overshadowed by a homophone.

That said, the whole idea of celebrating pi on 3/14 is based on an arbitrary date system that has nothing to do with the ratio itself. If you’re going to make a big deal of it, I suggest you follow my lead and keep your tongue firmly in your cheek.

Now, back to the matter at hand.

What is pie?

As is so often the case in semantics, you may easily dismiss the question with Justice Stewart’s classic, “I know it when I see it.”

But do you?

Chicken pot pie, apple pie and banana cream pie all share the name, but are hardly the same experience. Meanwhile, very similar dishes are excluded as “cobbler” or “crisp.” Is crust, then, the essential element?

That seems incomplete, as it would also include cheesecake and exclude — perhaps correctly — Boston cream pie.

I’m tempted to define pie as a dish with crust and a mixed filling. Admittedly, that leaves pumpkin, key lime and most cream pies out in the cold. Personally, I think they have more in common with cheesecake, anyway — which is not to say they’re not wonderful pastries.

Anyway, I’m afraid this is far too big a problem for me to tackle on my own.

Instead, I will include a poll about what is and isn’t pie in the online version of this column. While you’re at it, you can also weigh in on a question I plan to tackle when the Valley View Hospital Auxiliary’s Pie Day rolls around: Which pie is the best?

I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue, and I’ll unveil the entirely nonscientific results next week.

Will Grandbois wonders if there’s a golden ratio day, ideally with cake. He can be reached at 384-9105 or will@postindependent.com.

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