Skip Navigation

August 29, 2008

First Cherry Pie

I didn’t grow up eating fruit pies (homemade or otherwise) other than the occasional Tastykake. Around 1980, however, I had an epiphany in the form of a transcendent slice of cherry pie at O.G. Dining Room (in Greenwich Village). Since then, cherry pie has been my favorite fruit pie.

Store-bought cherry pies just didn’t do it for me, and I have been talking about making a cherry pie from scratch for a long time. (We have some fruit pie experience. Anne regularly makes a killer apple pie using a recipe by Nick Malgieri, and I contribute the crust.) The only problem was—the cherries. I can't remember ever seeing sour cherries in any store. Last summer, we finally found fresh sour cherries, bought a ton of them, and... made a big mistake. Instead of using them right away, we froze them. When we finally thawed out the cherries last week, we learned our lesson—pit them first (freezing turned them into limp sacks of juice, which made pitting much more difficult). Despite that, the Oxo pitter worked well.

Cherry pies usually sport a lattice crust, which neither of us had ever made. Fortunately, the directions in Baking Illustrated were straightforward. I made the dough, which was a little different from what I usually make. It had more flour and water and less fat (I used a combination of lard and unsalted butter). The dough was easy to roll out and turned out better than it usually does. Anne made the lattice crust as well as the rest of the pie; I just took pictures.

Lattice strips

Half the dough is cut in to strips for the lattice. This was supposed to be a “rectangle of dough.” Um, close enough.

Weaving the lattice strips

Weaving the lattice. You don't actually weave; just fold back strips alternately.

The finished lattice top

Done! Now, to get it on the pie.

Lattice top in place

There, that was easy. Lots of nipping and tucking was required at this point.

Cherry pie filling

The filling was pretty soupy (cherries ruptured because of freezing), and we should have drained off more of the juice.

The finished cherry pie

The finished pie. It was superb!



Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal carries sour cherries when they're in season.

this looks great!

Good to know, thanks! Making this pie will probably become a summer tradition.

You can bet your biscuits we'll be trying this out. Care to share the recipe and lattice crust instructions?

August 22, 2008

Survey Says: Mac Users Are Jerks

I had never heard of a company called Mindset Media (and I’m sure they never heard of me), but I learned that they help advertisers target buyers by identifying a brand’s “personality.” The idea being to market the brand to customers with compatible personalities, thereby finding buyers who likely already bought the advertiser’s product. Seems like “selling to the choir,” but you didn’t hear that from me.

In January, they released a list of personality traits that they claim describes the typical Mac user. The NPR quiz show “Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!” had some fun with this [mp3 1:55] on the show that aired February 23 (I’m a leetle behind in my radio listening). Enjoy.


Well, someone had to say it. What total and unrepentant jerks those Macfolk can be!

I remember reading something about VW doing demographics on their customers, and the profile was so obnoxious, I sold my Scirocco the next day ;)

LOL! I’m going to keep my Mac, but I covered the Apple logo with tape and only boot into Windows—at least in public.

August 4, 2008

Cigarette Smokers: Caught on Film!

Although approximately 20% of Americans still smoke cigarettes, smoking is not the ubiquitous activity it was when I was growing up. Not only did more people smoke back then, but clearly people smoked whenever and wherever they pleased. Smokers were everywhere—it was a fact of life. So much so that you didn't even notice it (at least I didn’t). It is only by contrast with today when the decimated ranks of smokers are segregated in huddled clumps outside buildings that I became conscious of how pervasive smoking used to be. Not being a smoker myself, I don’t think about the change that much, but some videos I saw recently reminded me dramatically of that bygone era.

A vintage video from “The Sound of Jazz,” a TV special that aired in 1959, shows Miles Davis playing “So What” (from the “Kind of Blue” album recorded that year—probably the best-selling jazz album of all time) with his sextet and the Gil Evans orchestra. At about 1:47, the trombonist in the background takes a drag on a cigarette:

Elis Regina smoking during 'Aguas de Março' (1974)

A number of things struck me. For one thing, he’s a brass player who shouldn't be smoking in the first place. And couldn’t he wait until the show was over? No, that’s the point. You could light up anytime anywhere. By the way, there are other cigarettes visible in the video; Miles himself is rocking one at 4:40.

In another example, here’s Brazilian vocalist Elis Regina, who recorded an album with Antonio Carlos Jobim in 1974 (“Elis and Tom”); YouTube has a video of them lip-synching to “Aguas de Março.” For most of the track Elis fidgets with the headphone cord, but for the last two minutes she is waving a cigarette around.

Elis Regina holding a cigarette during 'Aguas de Março' (1974)

At least it’s not lit. Here’s another shocker to me—a singer smoking like it was nothing. And in those days it was. I’m sure if I had seen these videos when they were made, I never would have noticed all the smoking.


have you been watching Mad Men on AMC? we've been watching since last season. smoking EVERYWHERE and ANYTIME. doctor visit - the doc lights up, walk in to a room for a meeting - light up, client comes into the office - offer up a cig, take out the garbage - light one up, finished with dinner - light one up...

No, we don't have the cable. That's funny. I'm assuming this is set in the past?