Sometimes, amid all of the hustle and bustle of starting and continuing to keep afloat a small business, it’s easy to forget that I wrote a book. Last year at this time I was hosting the final few pie parties, figuring out a finicky crust, and taking advantage of every hour of every day to finish a pie-tacular manuscript. And now, a whole 12 months later an advanced copy of MY BOOK has landed on my doorstep. It’s astonishing. And beautiful.
I have a hard time containing my excitement as book tour dates are lined up and I send pies to places like the Today Show and The Chew. It seems entirely unreal and entirely stupendous at the same time. I’m an official ‘Spring 2014 Cookbook’ author, according to Eater!
I’m still so so grateful for all of the help and support I received along the way and also super stinking proud of myself for having achieved something so great. You guys, this book is MINE:
I’ll keep ya posted about the Spring book tour and hopefully I’ll make it to a city near you! In the meantime… eat pie. be happy. eat more pie.
Being the proud owner of a beautiful website with its very own email option, I occasionally get spammed by robots. More often than not, the messages come from the robots that work at Coach, Adidas and Michael Kors and typically the messages themselves are incoherent which make them very easy to delete without a second glance. But occasionally I really connect with a robot spammer. The other day I got a message from Air Jordan saying, “Thanks for the strategies presented.” You are absolutely welcome, Air Jordan. Thank you for making great basketball shoes… you’re now my number one brand if I ever decide to go on a “tour of basketball.” The highly literate robot Ayylfzbh presented me with the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of fraud and this super helpful tidbit, “Everyday people would probably say that this whitening kit may not work.” Good lookin out, Ayylfzbh… Crest white strips will get zero of my dollars. What I’m trying to say is, if you open your heart to the robots they sometimes surprise you with flawless feedback and helpful hints.
This was never more true than this past weekend as Aaron and I endeavored to dream up a few new savory flavors. Aaron had his heart set on a pulled pork and tomatillo salsa pot pie (which, with the addition of pineapple, will be dazzling) and I was stuck trying to figure out the proper veggie for my beef and stout pie with dried cherries and blue cheese. I was knocking around the idea of potatoes (but worrying it would make the pies to heavy), kale (knowing it would be overshadowed by my chicken and kale pot pie), and peas (but they’re just so pea-ish) when by a stroke of good fortune the lovely and brilliant robot, StephenOa emailed me his thoughts:
Eureka! Too true, Stephen… too true. It is hard to find a non-mushroom-loving-man and if there’s one thing I want out of life it’s my man’s love. What a stellar idea, and as you so delicately put it, mushrooms are not only useful but they are common as well. You get extra robot points for potentially making my savory pie choice exciting and affordable.
But that’s not all StephenOa had to offer:
Now, this part seems a little confused but I think the true and altogether life affirming nugget of truth that Stephen Oa is trying to get across here is that while the science kingdoms may be at war trying to decide if mushrooms are a meat or a vegetable it hardly matters because “them have lots protein.” Bravo StephenOa, bravo… them DO have lots protein.
And thus, with StephenOa’s invaluable help, the Beef Stout Cherry Blue (featuring mushrooms) was discovered and let me tell you… it’s a home run. The beef is ‘no-knife-required’ tender, the tang of the blue cheese balances the dark flavor of the stout, the mushrooms are the perfect, subtle vegetable to tie everything together, and the cherries are a delightful surprise, bursting with flavor and offering a little bit of whimsy to this altogether traditional pie. Savory testing was a success…
I would keep my eyes peeled for the new offerings… I know StephenOA will be waiting with baited breath.
teeny, aaron and StephenOa
This was certainly a year of firsts for teeny pies! I’d say that most of the large and exciting things that happened this year weren’t especially unexpected but did require a lot of work, perseverance and energy.
I finished writing a book. That book has now made it through several editing transformations and now resembles an actual book rather than just a looming deadline on my google drive. I think it’s absolutely wonderful and I’m very grateful to have had the time early in the year to finish that momentous project.
I was also able to stop baking for other people and begin baking for myself. In September I started renting space at Union Kitchen, where each week I’m able to bake a plethora of pies. I was lucky enough to partner with my local CSA, Norman’s Farm Market, and sell my pies at their weekend roadside stands and CSA pickups. It was such a wonderful and community supported way to begin my business. Since then I’ve gone on to sell online through the prettiest website in the world (teenypies.com), as well as through a few stellar small business in the area (DCity Smokehouse and Hometown Harvest). I think it’s been a surprisingly smooth transition from baker to business owner … which is not to say that there haven’t been quite a few days filled with fear, panic and a lot of tears, but each moment of panic so far has been surmountable and here I am, baking pies for a living.
Aaron and I have also had quite an adventurous year together as well. Right after we were featured in Apartment Therapy we moved from Woodley Park (we were just too too famous) to Bloomingdale, which is much more our style. I think the only thing we miss is the zoo, no more shrieking zebras to wake us up in the morning. We also became puppy parents!! Two days before Thanksgiving, when I was up to my eyeballs in pie we met the cutest little pup and knew instantly we weren’t going home without her. Luckily, we were at an event that was hosted at a PetSmart, so we were able to get everything a small dog could possibly need to enjoy her new life in the city and bring her home that night. Teeny Pie Tumblr followers, meet Lady Bird Johnson:
The last few months have been such a treat. She’s most adorable dog and we are now the most popular people in the neighborhood. Aaron gets free coffee from the shop on the corner… that’s how cute she is. She’s seamlessly become part of our little family. She’s super snuggly in the morning and on the weekends we wear her out with very thorough tromps through Rock Creek Park.
With every new thing we have braved and accomplished this year, our lives are that much fuller and it has been a very happy year. I hope your year was filled with family, friends, love and grand adventures. Here’s to a lovely 2014!
Merry Christmas, happy holidays and may your days be full of cheer! This was a year of staying in town for the major holidays and Christmas was no exception. I didn’t have very many pies to bake and it was lovely to spend a few days relaxing with Aaron and the new pup. I spent Christmas eve morning in Rosslyn, filming a live demo for a terrific segment on “Let’s Talk Live DC.” I had six minutes to roll out the perfect crust and fill it with a scrumptious bourbon bacon pecan filling, all the while keeping up with the fast flying witty banter as well as touting the book which is available in March. Somehow, I forgot to mention my new and bustling small business altogether but deftly managed to give a very heartfelt shout-out to science. If you’ve got seven minutes to spare… check it out.
Aaron and I spent our Christmas Eve evening at the movie theatre and indulging in warm, decadent ramen from Daikaya afterwards. Christmas morning we tromped our way through Great Falls National Park, effectively wearing out the pup, who napped intermitenly while I read and Aaron prepared a proper Christmas feast. I had requested ‘roast beast’ in honor of my favorite Seussical holiday movie and while beast didn’t actually make it on the menu, the peach bourbon brisket Aaron whipped up was one of the best meals we’ve had here in our little home.
I’ve just received my very first order from Hometown Harvest, and am looking forward to making them a slew of sweet and savory pies this coming week. Business here at teeny pies continues to be slow and steady as I try to pad out the slow months with a little wholesale business here and there.
If anyone is in the Baltimore area tomorrow evening or Saturday afternoon, I’ve a whole new segment with ‘The List' about baking in a communal kitchen airing on WMAR ABC2. Tomorrow it’s airing at 8:30pm and Saturday (December 28th it’ll air at 2:30 and 4:30. I don’t think I mention science in this one, which is a shame, because it’s dreadfully underrepresented most of the time but I definitely manage to mention teenypies… so hopefully it’s good for business.
Ladybird (and Aaron and I too!) wish you happy happy holidays and a happy new year!
I can’t even say the twelve days of Christmas, because somehow the holiday season snuck up on me so fast that it’s already nine days away! That’s just a little over a week… What the heck happened!! I’m going to blame it on Thanksgiving being so late this year and then try to scrabble together some acceptable holiday cheer.
It helps that I’m making the cutest pies conceivable in the kitchen these days. Those little four inch teeny pies are just too adorable AND they make great holiday gifts *hint hint* I’m one hundred percent sure that anyone who is lucky enough to receive a teeny pie this year would be OVER THE MOON. … do you hear that! I can guarantee an OVER THE MOON reaction to your holiday gifty… how are you not already going to teenypies.com and ordering your pies?? Plus there are some fun holiday flavors that would be a hit at any holiday party (remember OVER THE MOON) including: apple cranberry crumb and chocolate cream pie with peppermint whipped cream. The time has come…. for the next nine days of Christmas you should forget geese and maids of milking and go straight for the teeny pies.
Ok, enough shameless plugging… the pie BBQ collaboration with DCity Smokehouse continues to be stellar! If you haven’t had their magnificent meat yet, hop to it and pick up a pie while you’re at it. Then tweet about it… I hear this new social media thing is a hit!
Pie baking and puppy raising are about all I’m up to recently, though I am considering trying to find a young and eager apprentice in the coming months to help me make pie while I have to be away selling my book in March… all I need to do is find someone exactly like me, two years ago. Should be a breeeeze. Know anyone who wants to make teeny pies their entire life for very little money? I can definitely promise a lot of pie!
Have a lovely week and remember… ”On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a small pie filled with apples and cranberry….”
It’s taken about a week and a half, but I finally feel recuperated from the all of the pie baking that happened in November… Just in time for the winter holidays! The last few weeks have been slowish. It’s not that it’s actually very very slow, I just think it’s just that I made so many pies in the ten days before Thanksgiving, that anything at this point that isn’t six hundred pies is going to feel a bit slow.
Luckily, I’ve managed to rustle up some wholesale business that should tide me over nicely during the slow months. If you’re in the DC area you can now go grab your very own teeny pie (along with some stellar BBQ) from DCity Smokehouse. I’m really excited to work with these guys particularly because I happen to think BBQ and pies are the perfect combination!
Teeny Pies also had a very successful Saturday at the DC Meet Market. We bundled up against the bad weather and had a delightful number of people who braved the cold to support small business. With only two teeny pies left at the end of the day, we left feeling (a little numb) and very happy to have been part of the last market of the year!
The holidays are just around the corner and I’m working to come up with a couple fun flavors to get everyone in a very festive pie spirit! Flavors that may or may not include peppermint whipped cream and maybe a pop of cranberry color (YUM) Keep an eye out on the website for fun holiday flavors and be sure to get your order in early!
It’s Thanksgiving! Which is not only my favorite holiday, but is also (without question, at this point) the PIE holiday as well. I’m unbelievably grateful to have had such a successful first Thanksgiving as Teeny Pies.
The holiday came early this year with an order from Relay Foods for seventy-five 9-inch pies and four hundred teeny pies (you read right, FOUR HUNDRED) to be delivered right before Thanksgiving. I rolled out crusts and pureed pumpkin until I was blue in the face and my wrists felt like they were going to fall off but I managed to make, bake and box all four-hundred and seventy five of them. And that was all before I baked my regular hundred or so Thanksgiving orders in the last two days. In fact, the last two days felt like a piece of pie compared to the day of four hundred pies. It seemed so easy I may have even taken a nap or two.
Now that the baking is complete and I’m sitting in my apartment, with the smell of turkey wafting about and the newest member of our little family, Lady Bird Johnson, is happily chewing away on her new Thanksgivukkah chew toy, I’d like to take a minute to be thankful for the people who helped me get through this holiday as a newly minted piebakersmallbusinessowner.
Aaron, who I’m grateful for every day, not just on Thanksgiving, was a calm and comforting presence throughout the chaos. Steadfast in his apple peeling and pie boxing abilities, he was able to remind me that the joy of being a part of hundreds of people’s holiday far outweighed the stress of having to bake hundreds of pies.
My mom was another constant; happy to answer the phone and lend a sympathetic ear when I just needed to say out loud, I’ve rolled out three hundred crusts, it took one million hours and I basically feel dead. She’s always good for those calls.
I also never cease to be amazed and humbled by my friends’ (near and far) generosity. They’ve ordered pies, sent holiday wishes, and helped peel hundreds of apples and build endless boxes. I have never felt alone in this crazy venture, and I’m eternally grateful for all of the support!
I seem to recall writing on here a mere two and a half months ago that sixty pies was my max. This Thanksgiving, with the endless support from family and friends I laughed in the face of sixty pies and managed to surprise even myself. Friends in pie, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m going to go eat a delicious meal and snuggle my new and deliciously snuggly new puppy. If you feel so inclined, send me pictures of your holiday pie and I’ll post them on the bloooooog. No matter what, have a happy and lovely Thanksgiving.
this weeks post is a little late coming at ya because I spent the first half of the week in NYC having a day ‘o meetings at Workman Publishing! The second pass pages arrived a few days earlier and each time I sit down and look at them I’m amazed to find a real life book written by me in front of me. The pictures are gorgeous. They’re the kind of pictures that you want to dive into and possibly live in for a little while. I’m also super pleased that so many of my own pictures made it into the final draft (thanks goodness for Instagram). I’m just a jack of all trades over here.
I met my publicity team (yep… I’m dying… I have my own publicity team) and they seem really excited to help promote and sell the book… the roasted almond pie also may have helped! Everyone was truly lovely and it was so nice to finally put a few faces to people I’d been emailing or talking to on the phone for the past year and a half. It seems crazy that a year and half ago I began writing a book and now I have a “very edited, no cover but still looks like a book” copy of that very same book sitting on my coffee table. It’s kind of incredible.
Things have been fairly slow at the kitchen this week, which makes me think it’s just the calm before the storm. Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and I’m gearing up for an onslaught of pie production. This whole thing continues to be such an adventurous experience and can’t help but be grateful when I realize how successfully I’ve managed to surround myself with super supportive and delightful people. The pie life is going swimmingly.
If you’re in the DC/Virginia/Maryland area and you’ve yet to order a pie for Thanksgiving, head over to teenypies.com and put in your request. I’d love to be a part of your holiday this year! Tell your family, tell your friends… eat pie. be happy. eat more pie.