"Occupy! Occupy! What kind of pie? Occupy!"
This catchy little chant has been stuck in my head for days. A man at a non-Occupy protest I attended last week kept shouting it during lulls in the action. As I listened, I was food-inspired. Though I wondered, What's in Occu-pie, anyway?
Apples, of course. Apple pie is quintessentially American. So is the right to assemble, peacefully, and voice one's discontent with the status quo. I used three kinds of apples: Jonathan, Braeburn, and Granny Smith. Sort of like the apple version of a melting pot.
But regular old apple pie wasn't enough to qualify as Occu-pie. It needed something more. Something slightly out of the ordinary, but not all hippie-like and beyond the mainstream. Maybe something with a little kick to it.
Bourbon. For liquid courage (symbolic, of course, since the alcohol burns off) in the face of police throwing flash-bang grenades and tear gas, and maybe a little warmth on cold nights in tents. Having a non-existent hard liquor cabinet myself, I borrowed a few tablespoons from my neighbor. Who then borrowed some white wine I'd just opened for a recipe she was making. This sort-of-barter system suits us just fine, helping us ensure we use up what we have, saving us a few fossil-fuel-powered trips to the store, and creating a little mini-community of food and ideas that is the antidote to the Every Man for Himself attitude that fuels the Occupation.
Even though I made 25% more crust dough than I did for my Bolinas Blackberry Pie, I still didn't have enough to make a full lattice. So I threw flour, unmeasured, and butter at the wrong temperature into the food processor to make more. I chilled the dough, which I realized later was missing sugar, for one-fourth of the time I should have, and got a very pretty lattice that tasted like Play-Doh. This hasty fix for my pie was a gentle reminder that, like dough, change happens slowly.
While statements from protesters such as, "I have a Master's degree and I can't find a job" or "Big Banks foreclosed on my home" allow individuals to connect to the larger movement, #Occupy Wall Street isn't about getting those people's houses or jobs back. At least, not directly. It's really about changing a system that is totally out of balance, and is totally unsustainable. This MoveOn video, featuring Elizabeth Warren, sums it up nicely.