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American Pie!

December 22nd, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Travel


A few cultural concepts don’t travel well outside the United States.


“American” football.

Country-and-western music.


Pie doesn’t seem that difficult, does it?

A fruit filling. A flaky pastry crust. A glazed top-crust. A pie tin.

But it just doesn’t seem to work out, most of the time, if you are outside the borders of the USA. No one much makes fruit pies, and some of the key elements in the pie are hard to obtain.

Which might explain why one of us shouted “pie!” as we drove past a venerable old Long Beach diner, on our second full day Stateside.

And a few minutes later?

We had a fresh pie, for $13. A cherry pie.

We took it to the family business, and found some paper plates and a plastic knife and a few forks and had a piece right then and there.

Yum. Pie.

Why is pie difficult, outside the U.S.?

–The crust is difficult to replicate, in distant lands. It is too thick or too frail. Brits eat lots of meat pies, but the crust is not quite the same.

–For pie to have a pie shape it needs a pie tin or pie plate, and those are rarely found, in the rest of the world.

The restaurant where we bought our nine-inch cherry pie is a Long Beach institution named Park Pantry. On Broadway, across Junipero Street from Bixby Park.

How long has Park Pantry been in business? The review (linked above) suggests it’s more than 50 years old.

I can vouch for it being more than 52 years old, because I still remember being in the big corner table with my family, after church, on a Sunday in November because the waitress (Buelah, I believe was her name) came over to the table and mentioned that the man who had killed President Kennedy a few days before had been shot.  It was November 24, 1963.

And we had already been regulars there for more than a few years.

Park Pantry is better known for traditional diner food than it is its bakery, but it does pies well.

They had five satisfied customers this afternoon, two of whom felt like their cherry pie was an exotic treat.


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