Tuesday, November 1, 2011


 "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.    


  1. I love the looks of your Occu-pie! Apple pie has been my favorite ever since my first bite. Sadly I was 6 and it was McDonald's applie pie...but hey they were good back then!

    I love that you can "borrow" and share items with your neighbors. There's no need to waste trips to the store and waste money on things when you can gladly trade and socialize with neighbors. :)I wish mine were like that.

  2. I'm definitely lucky to have found this little arrangement!

    Pie is pie, and judging from your Goat Cheese-Blueberry-Basil Pie, I'd say you are hooked, regardless of where you took your first bite! Thanks for reading, and I can't wait to see what you try next. Maybe your neighbor would like a slice ;)