Daryl emerged from the kitchen of Domus Logogustationis holding two fresh, steaming pies (and I don’t mean cow pies). He plunked them down on a table and said, “There!”

“Well, aren’t you sweet as pie!” Elisa Lively exclaimed. “What’s the occasion?”

“Pie Day!” he said, or so it sounded.

“Proto-Indo-European Day?” Maury said, referring to the reconstructed proto-language commonly abbreviated as PIE. “Are these made with roots?” I, meanwhile, had started to sing “Pie day, pie day” in emulation of Rebecca Black. “Please stop,” Maury said in my general direction.

“It’s March fourteenth,” Daryl said. “Three fourteen. Pi is three point one four.”

“Which would mean,” I said, “that pi second was at 1:59:26 – point 5.” I had always known that memorizing pi in my childhood would come in handy sometime.

“I think I don’t follow,” Elisa said.

“Pi,” I said. “3.1415926535897932384626…” Daryl joined in after a few digits and we recited in unison until Elisa started waving her hands and said, “What are you doing? Stop.”

“Pi in your face!” Daryl said.

“All I know is pi r squared,” Elisa said.

“These pie are round,” Maury observed. “You can tell by the circumference: these two pie are.”

“If no one else is going to,” I said, “I’m going into the kitchen to get plates and forks and serving implements.”

“No need,” said Jess, emerging from the kitchen with the requisites. “Easy as pie.”

“Well, hi, cutie pie,” Elisa said.

“There’s another mathematical formula,” I said. “Visual appeal as the product of quality, time, and the amount of pie you eat: qtπ. Proof that dessert is good for your looks.”

“Keep it on the q.t.,” Jess said. “Looks good to me,” Elisa said at the same time.

“Well, dig in,” Daryl said. “There’s ample pie.”

“I’ll have a sample of pie, then,” Maury said, reaching for a knife.

“Apple pie?” Elisa said.

“And bumbleberry pie,” Daryl said.

“Better bumble than humble,” I said, taking a plate from the stack Jess had set down. “I’ll be trying both pies. I like to have a finger in every pie.”

“Don’t put your finger in these ones,” Daryl said. I launched into a snippet from Pink Floyd’s “Money”: “Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie.” And I took a slice of each pie.

“Perhaps we can have some pies in quiet,” Jess said, and added – at me – “Chatter-pie.”

“Nice shirt,” I said to Jess. “How would you describe the colour… badger-pie?” Jess stuck her tongue out at me.

Maury looked at my two-pie-piece plate. “You would have taken one of each even had there been four, wouldn’t you?”

“At least one, yes,” I said, and took a bite. “Mmm. Yummy.”

He nodded. “You really are a magpie.”

“Pies for the pie,” I said. More for the benefit of Elisa and perhaps Daryl – Maury and Jess probably knew this – I added, “Magpies were originally called pies, from Latin pica. The mag was added perhaps in the same way as adding Jack to daw it seems to be from Maggie.”

“So did someone bake four-and-twenty of them in a pie some time?” Elisa asked between bites.

I almost started singing “Pie-pie blackbird,” but thought better of it. “No one’s entirely sure where pie for the dish came from,” I said, eyeing the pies, “but it dates from after pie for the bird, and the first ones were made of a variety of savoury things and meats, so it might have been a magpie-style collection. But that’s speculation. Perhaps with further research…”

“You’ll get pie in the sky when you die,” Jess said, echoing the cynical line that originated the phrase pie in the sky.

“As long as I could have it with a nice glass of port,” I said.

“And get thoroughly pie-eyed?” Maury said.

“Why not,” I said. “Make the pie higher!”

Thanks to Christina Vasilevski, who brought pie to work today and inspired this.

2 responses to “pie

  1. π-day in the UK would have to be on the 3rd day of the 14th month? Also ‘pie’ tends to be savoury.

    • If you go into a pub and say, ‘I’ll have a pie’, it’s understood that this is a meat pie. But there are plenty of sweet pies in Britain, including the British apple pie, properly made with intensely acid Bramley cooking apples that disintegrate to a fluff when cooked, and a top crust only because a bottom one would go soggy. But we don’t have the pie culture satirised by Hilaire Belloc:

      In Massachusetts all the way
      From Boston down to Buzzards Bay
      They feed you till you want to die
      On rhubarb pie and pumpkin pie,
      And horrible huckleberry pie,
      And when you summon strength to cry,
      “What is there else that I can try?”
      They stare at you in mild surprise
      And serve you other kinds of pies.

      There is one more kind of pie, an obsolete one from the French pied: ‘cap-a-pie’, (armoured) from head to foot; the ‘Pie Powder Court’, a minor law court for poor people with pieds poudrés, dusty feet.

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