Thanks to Pi Day, everyone in the food blogosphere gets an update on their elementary-school math: Pi, the the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, is always the same number, approximately 3.14. An irrational number used to find the area of a circle, its digits go on forever, but the next two are 15, making this year’s Pi Day – 3/14/15 – even more special than any other year’s March 14.
What do food bloggers do for Pi Day? Make pies, of course. Shepherd’s pie, pumpkin pie, pizza pie – it’s all fair game. I decided to go with a traditional fruit pie. No ground-breaking interpretations of pie here.
Since I missed the last holiday I celebrated on my blog – National Banana Bread Day – by about a mile, I’m going to make this post short and sweet. I made my first pie of the year, a mixed berry recipe from Food Network, for my grandparents, who were visiting from South Dakota. The crust was a trusty Martha Stewart recipe that, I should note, is the only Martha Stewart recipe besides her apple-cheddar dog treats that has turned out well. (I love Martha Stewart – and I think most of her haters are just uncomfortable with a woman so unapologetically in power – but her website’s cookies tend to spread like pancakes and her macaroni and cheese to congeal in a puddle of grease.) I’d never made a lattice-top pie before, but thanks to the wonders of step-by-step guides on the Internet, it actually turned out pretty well. And the process wasn’t nearly as hard as I’d anticipated – about as easy as weaving those paper placemats kids make alongside memorizing the value of pi.
As cool as Pi Day is, I’m enough of a nerd to remember celebrating Mole Day – October 23, or 10/23 – in high school chemistry class. Mrs. Hogfoss, an institution at my Catholic school who probably taught some of my classmates’ parents, drilled Avogadro’s Constant – roughly 6.022 x 1023 – into our heads. For the sake of brevity, let’s just say it’s the number of particles (say, atoms or molecules) contained in one mole, a unit of measurement based on the number of atoms in 12 grams of pure carbon-12, the isotope of carbon with an atomic mass of 12. (Are your eyes still open? Good.) Chemistry and math geeks will probably point out a dozen – a baker’s dozen, for the sake of irony – in that definition, but it’s as good as the combination of my memories from high school and a little help from Wikipedia gets. At any rate, Mrs. Hogfoss celebrated October 23 by marching into the chemistry lab with a stuffed mole (actually a stuffed Oregon State University beaver with its tail lopped off) wearing a red cape with Avogadro’s number emblazoned on the back.
I would much rather celebrate Mole Day than Pi Day – it’s a lot more unique, for one, and I’ve never tried to make Mexican mole sauce. (OK, so the pronunciation is different . . . so sue me.) That, however, will have to wait until this fall. For now, pie is on the menu. Enjoy.