Join my Pie/Cake/Running Challenge!

I love pie and cake and waffles and running, so this seems like a win/win/win/win to me. A bit of background- I got fat over the winter (gained 24 pounds), but I run in the summer, so it’s going to come off. Here’s where things get dicey.

I’m not giving up pie and cake and such. I may limit myself to reasonable portions, but I’m not going to give up the joys of life. I have some specific goals in mind, so let’s get down to some specific numbers.

  1. Current weight is 249. Tragically, my height remains steady (for now) at 6’1″.
  2. I’m going to eat an average of one piece of cake or pie per day. Waffles count as two pieces, because I rarely eat them without syrup.
  3. My running routes are fantastic, but for this specific mission, I’ll run at a nearby park. Here are the specs–

As you can see, it’s a nice, small lap. I had a strange hip injury, took six months off running, and then got a vicious summer cold.

In short, I’m weak.

So, two days ago I started in earnest. I was able to run two laps and walk two, along with eighty pushups. Oh– about the pushups– I’m going to do twenty pushups or burpees for every lap around the track. Today, I ran 2.75 laps and walked 2. I did 100 pushups. The goal here is quite simple. It isn’t so much a weight issue as it is changing my body to be more muscular and less. . . middle aged. I want to run with my shirt off in full Dad Bod mode later this year, but not necessarily with the Dad Bod. Does that make sense?

There’s something about this park that enables good, hard runs.

I think that within three weeks of good work, I’ll be able to see and feel some results. I love running in the heat, and this park has an added bonus– there are MASSES of blackberry bushes around the park. If I run around the exterior of the park, it’s 1.2 miles. By summer’s end, I’ll be running around the park rather than in it. I’ll also have eaten myself silly on all those glorious blackberries.

Now, on to cake.

It turns out, I’m a princess.

It’s true. My bride baked me a prinsesstårta (Swedish Princess Cake) and I LOST MY MIND. It. Is. Magnificent.

There are layers of custard and home made raspberry jam and cream and OH LORD is it good. The outer layer is hand made marzipan and I’m not kidding when I say I’ll run in the sun ’til I drop simply to eat a slice.

You see? Totally worth it.

So, I’m keeping a journal of my running and such, to see just what happens over the summer. Send me a message if you’re running, too. I’m always up for challenges and buddies to join the grind, so to speak.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. The Princess needs cake.*

 

*Me, in case you doubted.

Cheers,

Terry

Why I Write, Summed Up In A Picture.

I love writing and I love pie. Given a choice between the two, I’m going for a third option:

My book friends.

Today, at the Louisville Author Event, my friend Cindy Calloway’s husband was kind enough to bake a pie, which Cindy brought me. Pecan. Home made. (delicious, by the way)

Background: Three years ago at my first signing, in Knoxville, TN, Cindy was a volunteer. She was fun, professional, passionate about books, and has turned into a wonderful friend.

Cindy and my other book friends are the reason I write. They’re readers, fans, friends, and allies. They show up. They support writers. They READ, a lot. They’re the best thing to ever happen to someone who decided to write a book at the age of 43, fell in love with writing, and sees no end in sight.

Without further ado, a few names of friends who were here today, and other days. I’ll update again and again as I naturally remember more people, but this is just a start.

Cindy

Lorie

Christine

Mary

James

Kenneth

Jen

Nova

Wren

Tasha

Kelly

Melissa

Nancy

Brad

Tim

Karen

Lile

Amy

Patricia

Grace

Tracy

Jonny

Kayte

Katy

Katie

Kelly

Cat

Net

Rebecca

Jim

Dan

Ronnie

Jo

That’s a representation of this week. I have an embarrassment of riches in friends, and I am incredibly thankful.

Cheers,

Terry

 

The Power of Pie

Today is National Pie Day, or Pi Day if you insist on the use of math. As a history professor, I naturally avoid any numbers that are more complex than, say, single digits.

It’s for our own good. Trust me.

However, 3.14 is a number even I can remember, and thus, we celebrate the majesty of pie, a food group that is so lush and varied it deserves its own channel in our collective cultural awareness.

I’ve written (at length) about being the grandson of bakers, who founded Ted N Peg’s Pie Stand in Rome, New York. For me, pie is breakfast. It is a snack for the grim hours between one and three in the morning, as I stand impatiently waiting for my dogs to re-inspect every square inch of the very yard they left two hours earlier, because in that time there could be mummies or zombies or, heaven forfend. . . .a possum.

We can’t have that.

Regardless, it’s a chance for me to stand at the sink, glaring into the stygian blackness of our backyard while eating pie and waiting for the herd to come home, so to speak. In those moments, I will once again marvel at the wonder of pie, and how my simmering anger dissipates with each bite as one by one, the dogs come in and lay down to begin their gusty snoring, dreaming the things only dogs can know in their sleep.

Yesterday, I was reheating pizza for my son, who is currently eating as if he as just released from a prison camp. Before I nuked his two slices of (cheese) pizza, I took a bite– an editorial sample, if you will– it was a piece that was only bread and sauce, free of cheese and oddly naked.

In that moment, I was transported thirty-five years into the past, when family friends took my family to a market in Rome, New York. There, they bought me a slice of tomato pie– a heretical twist on pizza that had little cheese, was fluffy, and served cool. The first sharp tang of summery tomato and  oregano was like the essence of pizza, stripped down for my consideration. It was. . .new. Amazing. A symbol of a new life, in a distant state. It was different, but familiar and good.

 

And yesterday, there I stood in my own kitchen, thinking of old friends and sweeping changes for a skinny thirteen year old who didn’t understand why he had to leave his grandparents a thousand miles away, in the sunshine of his life. His home. I still don’t understand.

Pie is food and food is memory. If I ever forget that again, I know it only takes one bite to be reminded.

Life Without Cookies

Or cake.

Or pie.

Or waffles, milk, flour, cheese, and joy, yes, there will be no joy, not in this house.

Bride is doing a really interesting thing known as the Whole Life Challenge. It’s kind of cool– focusing on better food, plenty of sleep ( a must!), stretching, meditation, and overall health.

In short, all the things we tend to ignore because of life, kids, spouses, bounty hunters, outstanding warrants, and existential crises. You know, the usual.

It has a lot of things to like in it– case in point, here’s a drink I would have never tried, but I did, and OH BOY is it good: Golden Latte Super Fancy Drink!

So here I am, day three without my usual inundation of junk food. I’m intensely curious to see what happens. I’m almost fifty— things start to break down. I’m no longer under warranty, so to speak, and one of the things that I hope to preserve is my mind. You know, no more ten minute search parties looking for my keys, or wallet, or sock, or shoes. Stuff like that.

I’ve written fifty thousand words in my current book, and this dietary change makes me ask the question: will I write better or more efficiently if I’m not standing at the sink, mindlessly chewing cookies like a very tall cow that wears underwear and a contented smile?

We shall see. I’m going to go two full weeks (also time to recover from the Man Flu, of course) and see what happens.

Between this, the pushups, and wearing a FitBit, I might not survive.

I have a cold. I will die soon.

There’s no getting around it.

My son, the World’s Largest Eight Year Old, has infected me with a virulent form of the rhinovirus, which may or may not be a combination of the following diseases:

The Bubonic Plague

Cooties

Ebola

A Random Tropical Fever

Boogers.

These have combined for the following symptoms:

Sneezing.

Producing more snot than my current body weight.

Headache.

More snot.

Snot.

Snot.

I write this as a farewell to you all, and only ask that you eat pie, waffles, and Oreo thins at my funeral.

Good day.

Terry

Happy Thanksgiving! Now Let’s Eat Pie!

Is it just me, or does life get better as we get older?

Thanks to everyone who’s helped make this a memorable year (already) with six weeks to go. Thanks for the friendship, books, and kindness at so many author events. I’m looking forward to next year, and will have the schedule out soon.

Fun fact: I WILL be bringing pie to author events from now on. I make several so let’s talk flavor in advance to maximize our pie experience. Pie: SRYS BIZNESS.

I hope your Thanksgiving is warm and welcoming.

Cheers!
Terry

A Brief Word About Pie

Maybe not too brief, but definitely about pie.

Pie transcends my need to eat. I love pie. I specifically enjoy pie between the hours of 1-3AM, usually eaten while standing at the kitchen sink, looking over the back yard. On nights with the moon, I have the reflected light of the sun to illuminate my shameful gorging. And yet, the moon always welcomes me back, or maybe I just ignore any protests because there’s pie. And milk.

I come from a long line of bakers; our family restaurant was actually called “The Pie Stand”, so this fascination is both genetically acquired and learned. It’s here to stay.
Here is a peach pie I made when I visited my buddy Tim. Nothing says, “I’m glad we were pals before puberty” like a baked good.

Question: What Makes A Pie?

I know we’ve all had sweet pies. Can pies be savory and still be considered pie? I’ve eaten meat or potato pie varieties in several countries, and I think I’m comfortable with that nomenclature. True, I have no desire to drink milk while eating a delicious, gravy laden Australian meat pie, but still. There was a crust and filling. I feel the same way about spicy Jamaican meat pies. Chicken pot pie, Shepherd’s pie– still technically pie. Right? Or, no?
Fruit. Chocolate. Dairy. Hybrids.
Fruit makes for an excellent filling (blueberry, apple, cherry, strawberry-rhubarb). I can also see the attraction of cream pies– Boston or Coconut make me crazy. I would fight a circle saw for either of those kinds of dessert. Holidays bring out the baker in all of us. Thanksgiving? Pumpkin. Sweet Potato. Apple. Christmas? Mincemeat. Apple. Pecan.
I heartily approve of holidays that activate our latent baking genes.
The Hybrids.
These are the pies that really take some culinary willpower. Your Black Forest, Chess, and Chocolate Silk fall into this zone. They’re stunning to look at, but more labor intensive. Not really fussy, just demanding.
The Endless Variety.
Look at this bowl of berries:

There’s a lot of pie-tential in that bowl. I can think of three kinds of pie offhand that can be made from that simple bowl of fruit, and that’s without getting Second Level Awesome and using terms like “coulis” and “measuring”.
I’m open to suggestions. I think– and this is just a guess– that there are as many recipes for pie unknown to us as there are in even the most experienced baker’s repertoire. I submit this in the hope that I’ll be inundated with new pie ideas.
Like I’ve been saying all week, it’s February. What else are we going to do?