Sunday, April 8, 2012

Let's All Have Some Pie

"You will find my story is a lot like pie, a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It's bitter. It's messy. It's got some sweetness, too. Sometimes the ingredients get added in the wrong order, but it has substance, it will warm your insides, and even though it isn't perfect, it still turns out okay in the end."

These words are from the prologue of Beth Howard's memoir Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie. Howard joins us Monday (4/9) at 7 pm with Kim Carlson, editorial director of Culinate, in a conversation about grief and the healing power of pie.

Howard was married to her husband Marcus for seven and a half years, during which time they lived in Germany and Mexico and Portland. But because of his work they spent much of their time apart. She asked for a divorce in a cry for attention -- spend more time with me, in an equal partnership, and less time with your job -- and seven hours before he was to sign the divorce papers he died of a ruptured aorta. His heart broke. And so did hers.

In an effort to heal her heart, Howard packed up the RV he left behind and hit the highways, using pie as a way to connect to people and find purpose in life. Eventually she returned to her Iowa roots and moved into the American Gothic House made famous by Grant Wood's painting, where she now lives and sells pies at the Pitchfork Pie Stand and teaches others how to bake pie.

Her mother's banana cream pie led her father to propose to her mother. Her own heaping-with-fruit apple pie prompted Marcus to propose to her. Pie led to her creation and to her happiness, and it helped her heal from her grief. This open and moving memoir is about the journey of healing and recovery, about the role of fate and second chances, and about the strength found in community. And in pie. Learn more about Howard's book in this interview from The Oregonian and in this article about her story in the Portland Tribune.

We hope you can join us Monday night at 7 when we will learn about Beth Howard's journey and enjoy ourselves a little pie as well.

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