7 Billboards You’ll (probably) Never See. Day Seven: Sugar Cream Pie
[one_half padding=”4px 8px 0 4px”]There’s no question that Indiana’s reputation has taken quite a hit in the past month because of all the political gaffes that managed to garner nationwide attention … and embarrassment. By the time all the talking and maneuvering and political posturing was complete, Hoosiers were left wondering who they could trust. Certainly none of the politicians are worthy. Bakeries took a hit. Pizza took a hit. Repair shops took a hit. Corporations threatened to pull out of the state. This was the time for the good people, the reasonable people, of Indiana, the ones who care, the ones who welcome everyone to their state, to do some deep soul searching about where to place their trust and what traditions were really worth keeping.
The answer is simple: Sugar Cream Pie.
Sugar cream pie is to Indiana what apple pie is to the rest of the country. This pie originated here, or at least that’s the story food historians are telling. Amish and Shaker wives of the 1800s would bake this sweet, simple pie during those times of the year when apples weren’t naturally available, such as early Spring. Often they would skim the cream directly off the top of fresh milk to make a pie that is rich, sweet, but uncomplicated in its taste. Ingredients were cheap and readily available year-round, making it a perfect dessert even in the most brutal of winters.
I’ll admit that I had to break my rule about using pictures from the archives for today’s image. I really thought I had a picture of sugar cream pie somewhere in the mix, but if I do it’s stuck someplace where I can’t find it. So, that meant I had to go find, and shoot, a piece of sugar cream pie. Oh horror of horrors, I thought with the deepest of sarcasm. I couldn’t give myself a better assignment. I already knew of a couple of places that made the sweet dessert, but they were both across town and require careful timing to get there before all the pie is gone. I asked around and food writer Jolene Ketzenberger suggested a few places she knew make a good pie. One was directly in the path of other errands we needed to run. Easy.[/one_half]
[one_half_last padding=”4px 4px 0 8px”]Locally Grown Gardens is one of those places I’ve passed hundreds of times, especially when walking on the Monon Trail, but never actually visited, despite the constant aroma of deliciousness pouring from the place. Chef Ron Harris has created a country-style market most recognizable for its locally grown vegetables that sit out front. I knew they had sandwiches and meats that drew people from all over, but I wasn’t aware they had pie until now.
We arrived late morning, just as the early lunch crowd was showing up. I looked around, and there, behind the counter, sat one last piece of sugar cream pie. There was one person in line before me. I was worried. Glancing around, though, I discovered there were more pies waiting. Chef Harris was prepared. I ordered my pie and took it to the sun room/library to photograph, not really worrying that the other people already in the room might think I was nuts. Once I was certain I had enough pictures, I sat down and promptly devoured the object of my very-short-term affection. The pie was everything it promised to be: warm, sweet, simple, and delicious.
Sugar cream pie isn’t especially difficult to make and recipes are easy enough to find. Recipes, of course, vary and every Hoosier family that has lived here more than a couple of generations seems to have their own version. No matter where you find it, though, you know it’s going to be delicious. Sugar cream pie is a wholesome Hoosier trait more reliable than anything, or anyone, else. Sugar cream pie can be trusted.
This is the last in our series of Billboards You’ll (probably) Never See. I hope you’ve had as much fun with them as we have. Next week we take a look at photographs that remind us of songs. We hope you’ll join us every day. Remember, you can subscribe at the bottom of the page and get an email to let you know the instant we’ve published a new entry![/one_half_last]