im might have said this before idk but when i was in elementary school we had this coloring contest and i didnt even know u could win something but i won it and and the price was that they displayed the colored page on a garbage truck around town for 5 years. My Garbage Art
Summary: After tasting a piece of pie straight out of his past, food critic Castiel has set off on a mission to find his childhood friend by making his way across the country reviewing the places Dean has worked. Will he be able to find the missing piemaker? And how much food can he eat in the process?
It has recently been brought to my attention that the readership for this column is…less than stellar. I was - we’ll say encouraged - to find a new angle. Something to entice you in, rather like a sampling of wine that convinces you to go ahead and buy the bottle.
My initial plan was to create a column based around the desserts offered by various restaurants. High end, low end, there would have been a little bit of everything. I even had a cheesy title planned out. Happy Endings. I know, corny but cute, right?
This idea was inspired by a specific dessert I had at a small diner, just on the outskirts of Lebanon called Benny’s. To understand this inspiration a little better, you’ll need a bit of a back story.
When I was a child, I had a best friend with whom I was very close. I was over at his house all the time. And his mother made the best pie. I’m sure you’re thinking this must be pure hyperbole. But her cooking was the reason I write about food at all. When she passed away, many things changed in my life. My best friend moved away rather suddenly and I never heard from him again. Everything seemed a little dimmer after that.
And then I made a quick stop at Benny’s. I wasn’t there to review the food. I just needed a place to eat. Yes, even critics just need a meal for the sake of a meal every now and again. As I told my very friendly and competent server, Madison, the food was adequate. Actually, for a diner its size, with the equipment and ingredients I know they had access to, it was above par. Not gourmet, but that’s not what you’re looking for when you go to a diner. I was running behind that day and sadly had to rush my lunch. But Madison, wise woman that she is, knew there was something else I needed to try. She sent me home with a slice of pie.
When I got a chance to take my first bite, it was like I was a child again. Everything from the smell, to the flavor and texture, was exactly like when I was ten years old. I was happier than I’d been in a long time, and let me tell you, that piece of pie was gone far too quickly for my pleasure.
It’s amazing how food can trigger such strong memories. So much of our lives are spent around food. So often it is a shared experience that we can connect to a specific person or event. And who can be unhappy over a great piece of pie, cake, or a bowl of homemade ice cream? So I decided that’s what I would share with you.
My first stop? Benny’s. And that’s where this narrative changed.
To my dismay, the cook who had made the amazing pastry that inspired my new direction, had moved in a new direction himself. He was a temporary fill in, working his way across the country towards a larger goal. The only pie they had on hand that day was frozen. I asked the ever helpful Madison if she knew the cook’s name and where he was headed next.
I discovered he was none other than my childhood friend.
I will not give his name since I do not have express permission to write about him, but from the moment I discovered it was him, my purpose changed. This column will still be about dessert. But now there is a larger goal.
I will be setting off across the country, starting by heading in the direction of Denver - the last known destination of my friend. Along the way, I will stop in as many diners and drive-ins as I can to see if I can again find that elusive slice of pie - and hopefully in the process reconnect with a long lost, and much missed, friend. I am hoping you will join me on this quest. Perhaps in the end, there really will be a happy ending.