Weekend Assignment #331: Cake v Pie ( Scalzi Flashback)
Weekend Assignment #331: Cake V. Pie (A Scalzi Flashback)
Which is better -- cake or pie? Explain your reasoning. Will you choose the moist sponginess and frosting-topped goodness of cake? Or will you side with those flaky crust-adoring, fruit-filling fanatics of the pie nation? You must choose one -- and only one! No trying to suggest that Boston Creme Pie is really kind of like a cake, or how cheesecake is actually not unlike a pie. Take a stand! Be true to your pastry orientation!
Extra Credit: Having chosen cake or pie, now admit your favorite variety of the dessert you did not choose. So if you chose cake, tell us your favorite pie. Prefer pie? Tell us your favorite cake. - J.S.
Originally assigned by John Scalzi, of the blog, By The Way, August 12th 2005
Haven't I answered this before? Yes. Yes I have. Here are some highlights:
One thing I will say in praise of pie is that it has a much better literary pedigree than cake. What are the great cake references? You can put 16 Candles on it, or you can behead a queen after she says something stupid about letting peasants eat it. That's about it.
Ah, but pie! Simple Simon met a pieman, four-and-twenty blackbirds survived being baked into a pie, and Little Jack Horner pulled a plum out of his Christmas one. Don McLean managed to combine pie with the history of rock and roll in one of the longest hit singles ever (at least on 45). The less said about a series of raunchy films, the better. Apple pie is a symbol for America, along with baseball, hot dogs and, according to a 1960s ad campaign, Chevrolet. Dean Martin wants me to remind you that "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore." The Jeffersons finally got a piece of the pie. Fox Mulder ate a long series of pie slices while interviewing a waitress, according to Jose Chung (Charles Nelson Reilly, in his best role ever) in my favorite X-Files episode. And wasn't Agent Cooper fond of pie also?
[I can't believe that when I first posted this, I left out two very important pie references. Here's the first one, quoted verbatim:
Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision--a man appeared in a flaming pie and said unto them 'From this day on you are Beatles with an A'. Thank you, Mister Man, they said, thanking him.
--from "Being a Short Diversion on the Dubious Origins of the Beatles" by John Lennon, Mersey Beat, 1961.
Paul McCartney later named an album Flaming Pie in honor of this "diversion."
The other reference I forgot is also a supposedly non-acidic vision of Lennon's, in which "rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies." There. I feel better now. I now return you to the original entry.]
But let's plunge in again. This time around, I'm voting for cake.
"John, the Weekend Assignment is time is 'Cake Vs. Pie.' I'm going to Safeway to photograph cake and pie, and I'll probably bring home a piece of one or the other. Do you need anything from the store?"
"Cake. If you're offering."
Yes, I was thinking cake also. John and I hardly ever buy cake or pie, but sometimes these things take on a life of their own.
Many of the cakes at Safeway involve chocolate. I'm in favor of pretty much anything chocolate. Well, as long as it doesn't involve coffee also. Yuck. Phooey on coffee anything.
There was very little pie on display in the bakery, just "NSA" (no sugar added) cherry, which would be my choice if I were buying pie, and Dutch Apple, and custard. I love custard, but almost never buy it in pie form. The main problem with most pie, to my mind, is that it needs ice cream or whipped cream to make it worth eating. The exception is my favorite pie of all, pumpkin, along with its variants: pumpkin cream, pumpkin chocolate torte, pumpkin tart, harvest pie, etc. But try to get any of those this time of year.
On the other hand, Safeway had lots of choices with cake in the name, most of them quite inviting. Okay, cheesecake might be cheating, but what about Boston Cream? It often has the word "pie" attached to it, but clearly it's a cake. Safeway had theirs labeled "Boston Cream Cake" - and quite right, too. They also had a "Boston Cream" variant, with fresh strawberries on top and no chocolate icing. To my mind, that's more of a strawberry shortcake, but it's still a cake. I chose that (it was on sale) and took it home. Unfortunately I did a poor job of carrying in the bag and upended the whole thing, but I managed to smoosh it back together.
And John and I definitely thought it tasted good. Even without chocolate.