In the choice between pie and tart, pie wins

Times Staff Writer

Summertime brings up an age-old conflict for my girlfriends and me. We must choose between our quest for love and our love of pie.

A couple of years ago we decided that we must do something to prepare for bathing-suit season in an effort to improve both the quality and quantity of what we can reel in on the beach. Something that didn’t require any sweat or significant self-sacrifice, however. We weren’t going for physical perfection, just a tad less lumpiness. We looked around and decided to give up pie.

You don’t know how much you love something until you give it up -- well, unless it’s a rotten, no-account man. We originally planned to stop eating pie in March. Then it got pushed back to April. And here it is mid-May, and I am watching my friend Eve polish off a single-serving cherry pie with a dear little lattice top, which she bought at the Westwood farmer’s market.

“Mmmm pah,” she says.


Pie brings out her Texas accent.

For months I am content with a custard cup for dessert when we make the run to Philippe’s from the office for lunch. But take away my pie option and all I can think about is blackberry pie, blueberry pie, banana cream pie, chocolate cream pie. Pie takes on the sheen of ambrosia. I don’t want my pie in the sky. I want it on a plate.

What we had given up so lightly was becoming a heavy burden to bear. Eve pointed out that summer, with so many fruits ripening on the tree and vine, is pie season. We were missing out on pie season!

“Look, are fresh fruit pies really pies?” she asked. “Is it a pie if it isn’t baked? I think, really, it’s more like fruit in a pastry bowl. And aren’t we supposed to eat lots of fruit? Really, does anyone know what this thing we call ‘pie’ is?”

I so wanted to go along with Eve here. “I know -- maybe we could just give up mince pie. That is definitely a pie, although of mysterious composition,” I told her. “I’d even be willing to throw in pumpkin.”

But my friend Nicole stepped in and looked at us as if we were both pie-eyed. Nicole, who has the most self-control of us all, has taken on the role of Pie Nazi. “No pie!” she said, looking pointedly at my hips. “You think you’re gonna be wearing a bikini? N-O P-I-E, honey pie.”

(She lets us eat cake, however. We made no ruling on cake. Besides, it’s too difficult to avoid at work. Seems like it’s somebody’s birthday every day. But cake -- eh, shrug of shoulders -- we can take it or leave it.)

In the midst of all this pie deprivation, I took a test online that purports to tell you whether your constitution is more hot or cold, according to Chinese medicine. One of the questions was: “Which do you prefer, food or sex?”


I e-mailed the question to Eve, along with the comment, “Oh my God, this gave me pause.”

“Oh my God, it gave me pause too,” she replied.

“Hon, bikinis are overrated,” she said when next I saw her. “I say we forget the bikinis. First of all, they are so last year. Second, they lack that certain something that we all know as subtlety. Let’s consider a tasteful one-piece. I have a mini boysenberry pie stashed in my bag. We can split it.”

As Rosalind Russell said in “Auntie Mame”: “Life’s a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” My pals and I, we’re no suckers.


Furthermore, as Jonathan Swift so wisely opined: “Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.”

Samantha Bonar can be contacted at