I recently fell in love with the show, “Pushing Daisies.” It’s absolutely lovely. Amdist the whimsical characters, the charming Kristen Chenoweth, and the bright colors and patterns that are strategically placed in every scene, lies an adorable storyline. The more I watched, the more it reminded me of my favorite childhood author, Roald Dahl. And the more I watched, the more I wanted to bake a pie. If you haven’t watched it, you need to. Below is my feeble attempt at creating a story with the inspiration of Pushing Daisies and Mr. Dahl (with some descriptive help from Mr. Aaron Schrader). Enjoy!
Mr. Piebunkle was a simple man He was tall and lean, with hands that appeared crooked and slightly crippled from years of rolling and kneading dough. He was a baker.
He lived in a small cottage, in the small town of Istyloo, and owned a small bakery in the center of that small town. As a baker, Mr. Piebunkle started work very early every morning. So early, in fact, that during his walk to the bakery, the moon and the stars were still shining bright. Mr. Piebunkle’s favorite mornings were the ones with the Cheshire moon, where it was only a sliver, and therefore looked like the smile of a Cheshire cat; it hung low on the horizon where the sun had not yet crested the earth.
The little town of Itsyloo was known for their ability to grow bananaberries. Bananaberry bushes grew like weeds along the back roads and highways during the early summer months. Bananaberries were in such an abundance that Mr. Piebunkle’s bakery was filled with bananaberry bagels, bananaberry cream pie, baked bananaberry cobbler, bananaberry bread, bananaberry bon bons, and bananaberry brioche. As delightful as these were, Mr. Piebunkle sensed that the town often grew weary of bananaberries. He spent his days dreaming of other delicious fruits that may be out there, and what sweet treats he may make out of them.
One particular day, late in July, Mr. Piebunkle was making a fresh batch of bananaberry donuts, when a traveling salesman entered the doors of his bakery. Mr. Quill was his name. He was a short, rotund man with fat red cheeks, thin lips, and a wispy mustache. He was quite boisterous, and obviously very excited about the product he was peddling in the large wicker basket that he was carrying. So excited, in fact, that he had developed a thin line of sweat above his upper lip that he obsessively kept patting at with an already soaking cloth. Mr. Piebunkle was a bit turned off by the grotesque look of this man, however, introductions were exchanged, and Mr. Quill quickly jumped into his pitch about the oddities in his basket.
Mr. Quill slowly opened the top of his basket, beads of sweat now forming on his forehead as well, threatening to drip-drop onto this unknown treasure. Open the basket went, revealing large piles of small, round, red looking berries. Mr. Piebunkle was mesmerized. He picked one up and studied it, like a jeweler examines a diamond. Perfectly round, deep red in color, shiny, and like nothing he had ever seen before, they seemed to stare back at him. Twizzlecherries. He sunk his teeth into one and knew, without question, it was a taste he would remember forever. Imported from the far away land of Quackletown, these were the last of Mr. Quill’s twizzlecherries to sell. It wasn’t much, but Mr. Piebunkle had to have them. He opened his cash drawer, took the meager earnings from that day, and stuffed a fistful of bills over to Mr. Quill’s chubby hand in exchange for two pounds of dark red, juicy, scrumptious twizzlecherries.
Mr. Piebunkle stared, arms akimbo, at his basket of twizzlecherries for some time, knowing he needed to find something spectacular to do with them. He didn’t want to make anything that would mask the extraordinary flavor of this new fruit. With a smile on his face, he got to work on a twizzlecherry pie. He rolled out the pie dough, filled it with twizzlecherry filling, and covered it with a lattice top. While it was in the oven baking, he printed on his sandwich board:
Mr. Piebunkle’s Exotic Twizzlecherry Pie
Fresh out of the oven!
First come, first serve…get it while you can!
Mr. Piebunkle went about preparing his bakery for whatever customers may come to try the new twizzlecherry pie. The sweet aroma of twizzlecherries was slowly filling the small bakery, and soon enough the timer went off and the pie was out of the oven. When Mr. Piebunkle brought the pie out to the front counter for display, he nearly dropped it as he looked up and saw not only his bakery full of the townspeople, but a line out the door that seemed to produce no end. Mr. Piebunkle had not expected so many customers, and he immediately feared that he would never have enough to satisfy the large number of people waiting to taste the twizzlecherry pie. With nothing to do but start serving, Mr. Piebunkle cut into the hot out-of-the-oven pie and served up the first piece. He served one customer after another, all while enjoying the smiles on their faces as they experienced their first taste of a twizzlecherry. When the last customer was served their piece of pie, Mr. Piebunkle slumped back into his chair with a bit of exhaustion before he realized that his twizzlecherry pie must have fed hundreds of happy customers. There was one single slice of pie left, so Mr. Piebunkle helped himself. He savored every last bite of that twizzlecherry pie. He was uncertain of many things that had happened that day at the bakery, but of one thing he was sure…those twizzlecherries must have been magical.
He walked home that night feeling quite delighted about his day at the bakery. He whistled a little tune on his way home, filling a basket with bananaberries and new resolve to see things (and bake things) a little differently tomorrow.
Mr. Piebunkle’s Twizzlecherry Pie
(recipe courtesy Fine Cooking Magazine can be found here)