Pigeon Week will continue tomorrow, but today just some quick catch-up/filler.
I really believe that the world is divided into two kinds of people: People who already know that pecan pie is the best kind of pie ever invented, and People Who Just Don’t Get It*.
*Sadly, (Otherwise) Awesome Wife is in this category. Her favorite pie is cherry pie. Which would be OK, except that she’s sort of like a Cherry Pie Communist Party Boss. Before every family holiday, she’ll poll various family members as to what kind of pie they’d like to have. (We choose 2.) She’ll take everyone’s “vote”, tabulate and then happily announce the results, which, remarkably, always include cherry, even though I’m reasonably certain that no one besides her has ever cast a vote for it.
Anyway, Friday night was a pecan-pie-lover’s dream come true. One of the nice, unexpected side-benefits of this project is some of the great friends I’ve made through blogging. Now 2 of these friends- Rachel and Jube- are formidable cooks. And it came to pass a month or so back that some smack-talk was exchanged regarding who made the best Pecan Pie. Things escalated from there, and so it was that Friday night several of is gathered at the Watcher Family Headquarters for the first ever Salt Lake Valley Pecan Pie Throwdown, a truly epic competitive event.
Tangent: Pecans, BTW, are way cool. First off, even though they look like Walnuts, they taste sweeter, less bitter, and way, way yummier.* The two are fairly closely-related, both belonging to the Walnut Family, Juglandaceae**. Botanists go back and forth on whether Pecans and Walnuts are true nuts or drupe fruits (the part you eat is endocarp), similar to apricots, plums and almonds***
*Totally my opinion, no science whatsoever to back it up. Hey, it’s a Filler-Post, lighten up!
***Though not closely-related to any of them (those guys all belong to the genus Prunus, within the Rose Family.) Drupe-style fruit architecture has evolved independently multiple times, even just within the Rose family.
But the coolest thing about Pecans is that they’re an “American Original”, native to North America, and one of the “newest” commercial crops, having been domesticated only since the 1880’s.
Bonus Tangent: So are Walnuts native or exotic? Sort of both. There are Walnut species native to both the Old and New World. The walnuts we eat are generally from the Persian (or English)Walnut, Juglans regia, which has been grown commercially in California since the early 1800’s. But interestingly, in the 1890s, growers switched to grafting J. regia onto rootstock of the native Hind’s Black Walnut, J. hindsii, for that species’ superior disease resistance. In the 1950’s, growers switched rootstocks again, to the “Paradox Walnut”, a hybrid of J. regia and J. hindsii, and that’s what grows most of the walnuts we eat today.
The contest was delightful but challenging, and judges UTRider, Blackdog and yours truly* summoned all of their powers of taste amd discernment in awarding the prize. But when the votes were cast, Jube was declared Pie Queen.
*SkiBikeJunkie was also present but was DQ’d as a judge on account of allegedly having slept with one of the contestants. He briefly denied the charge in hopes of participating, but their 3 children ratted him out.
*BirdWhisperer, Twin B, UTboy and UTgirl. JunkieGirl was DQ’d on account of allegedly having been delivered and raised by one of the contestants.