Friday, January 23, 2015

Memory Pie

Today, in the United States, it is Pie Day (not to be confused with March 14, which is Pi Day).

So, thousands of bloggers will be blogging about their favorite pie recipes.

There are amazing bloggers out there who blog about pie and football, all in the same post.

I've blogged about pie before (how about some grape pie?), but I have never told the story of my Most Memorable Pie.

It was the mid 1970's and we were over a thousand miles from home.  It was my spouse's first Thanksgiving in the military.  He was undergoing technical training in Texas.  And he had friends in his class, all of whom were far away from home, too.

For the most part we were in our late teens or early 20's, but among us was a slightly older man.  Sgt W. was from Iowa and he was a soybean farmer.  As I recall, he had joined the National Guard and was training with my spouse's Air Force class.

And Sgt W. had never eaten a soybean.  He had never sampled the crop he grew.

In the mid 1970's, soybeans weren't common the way they are today.  But I had become an on and off vegetarian in college, and I had fallen in love with a couple of books - Diet for a Small Planet and Recipes for a Small Planet.  As I wasn't working, and my spouse was making the tiny salary of an airman, money was tight and we used the methods explained in this book to stay healthy.  We ate whole grain homemade breads, bean and rice casseroles, and even dishes made with the healthy soybean.

In one of these books was a recipe for a mock pumpkin pie made with pureed soybeans, pumpkin pie spice and other ingredients I can't remember (nor could I find the recipe in a long Internet search last night). 

My spouse invited several of his classmate friends, including Sgt W., to Thanksgiving dinner.  And, an idea hatched in my mind.  Why not make something with soybeans for him?

We had a turkey, and other items no longer remembered.  It was one of the happiest Thanksgivings I remember, because we were all away from home but not lonely, and I remember our companionship much more than I remember the food.

Except for one thing.  When I served my "pumpkin pie", Sgt W. dug in, and said he liked it.  So did everyone else.  I even liked it, and I don't like pumpkin pie.

So I admitted to him that his "pumpkin pie" was really soybean pie.  And he didn't seem to mind.

I wonder what he said when he returned home to Iowa when his class was over.  We never saw him again after that.

I don't know where Sgt W. lives today, or if he is even alive.  Sadly, I  know at least one of the young men at that dinner passed several years ago.  And I don't know if W. remembers the young woman he had Thanksgiving with, in an apartment near an Air Force base in Texas in the mid 1970's, and the soybean pie she served him.

If you are out there, Sgt. W, happy Pie Day to you.


  1. Happy Pie Day to you, dear friend Alana! This is a very sweet story! It's amazing what you can bake into a good pastry--I have a recipe for an onion pie that is sweet and delicious. My dad says that if you chop up an old boot and bake it in a pie, and serve it with a bit of ice cream, it'll be tasty, just because it's PIE. ha! (Thanks for including my link!) :)

  2. What a fun story! And now I want pie. ;)

  3. Soybean pie is quite interesting as I've never heard of it before. My favorite pie has got to be sweet potato.If I had known it was pie day I would have treated myself to making one. Oh well, Happy Pie Day and thanks for sharing this nice story with us :)

  4. Wow! What a non-recipe for a pie. I immediately want to try it. I wonder what pumpkin pie spices are. That's from a woman who's never made the real thing. PP isn't a normal food here in England. Loved your story. Reminiscences are fun.

  5. I have never tried much pie but your soya pie seems fun.
    Happy pie day to you and Sgt W.


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