There have been rumblings about my victory in the July 17, Old Hallowell Day Double Crust All American Pie Contest. Did I deserve the prize? Was it, in fact, my pie?

I trust no one claims the pie was not a triumph. The judges were justly taken by its golden, flaky crust, tender blueberries, and sweet peaches. Still, there have been rumblings, especially from persons who are often in my house.

Therefore, in order to quell any doubts, I propose to analyze my pie the way a critic might analyze a Shakespearean sonnet. After all, sonnets have a strict form — three quatrains and a concluding couplet. And a pie recipe is just as strict and formal.

The three quatrains of my pie would be the crust, the ingredients and the baking. The concluding couplet would be the moment you bite into the sweet rhyme of its tasty blueberries and peaches.

Consider my first quatrain, the crust. I acknowledge that our daughter Susan had already mixed up the crust. I also acknowledge that Jane, her mother and my wife, rolled out my crust into two neat, 9 inch circles.

The second quatrain was the ingredients. I clearly remember the moment I first thought: blueberries and peaches! Yes, Jane picked the recipe from her 1965 Farm Journal Complete Pie Cookbook. And, yes, she also bought the ingredients. But I was the one who ladled the sweet fruit onto the bottom crust.

The final quatrain was the baking. The recipe said bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. I left the kitchen to nervously watch the losing Red Sox.

At 25 minutes Jane noticed the crust had already become golden. Also, she knew that canned peaches cook faster than fresh peaches. She advised removing the pie from the oven. From the living room I immediately agreed. Surely only the true artist has the confidence to dramatically depart from the recipe.

So, there on the counter lay my soon to be prize-winning pie, golden brown, gently steaming and ready for the judges’ concluding couplet. Do you still wonder whether I am the “author” of this pie? If so, you are forgetting that all art is collaborative.

Consider Wordsworth’s great romantic poem from 1804 which begins, “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” Yes, his sister Dorothy provided the inspiration and fixed his scansion. But no one seriously believes it should be titled, “Daffodils,” by William and Dorothy Wordsworth.

Wordsworth had his sister and I had Jane and Susan.

I trust this analysis of my work of art is persuasive and that the rumblings I mentioned earlier will now cease. But to make certain these rumblings cease I hereby offer to let either Jane or Susan wear my prize winning apron, with its bold, black lettering that reads, “Old Hallowell Day 2010 Pie Contest Winner.”

They need only ask.


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