10 Aug

Last Thursday I had the honor of attending the third annual Pietopia event in Portland, Oregon. My pie recipe and essay were selected, along with two other amazing pies/stories, for the community showcase at the Buckman Farmer’s Market. The event is organized by Tricia Martin of Joyful Life Wellness and Eating Is Art.

The entire Pietopia experience was an adventure for me. I’ve never entered any sort of food-related contest before, and it was all very new and exciting. It was a fortunate circumstance that I happened to be in Portland during the week of Pietopia, and that Julia happened to tell me about the contest a few weeks prior. I’m grateful for this unexpected sweetness in my life, and for the opportunity to meet Tricia and Margit, one of the other winners (unfortunately, Caroline wasn’t able to make it, but her Messy, Sticky, Ooey, Gooey Banana Caramel Chocolate Fudge Brownie Pie spoke for itself!)

This is the poster I won, designed by Vanessa Kauffman

I think life is best when it’s surprising. I never would have thought of myself as a pie maker, and yet it was so thrilling to see so many people turn up to sample something I had made. And not only did I make it, I invented it! (Several times while I was making the pies I turned to the recipe for guidance, only to realize that I was the recipe writer. I was on my own!)

I had a few stunning realizations during Pietopia: first, I’ve always loved learning people’s stories, whether through spoken word, books, or photographs. Now I can add “baked goods” to the list of successful storytelling mediums. Second, I love telling people I won a pie contest (though I’ve found most people assume I mean a pie eating contest). To me, preparing food for others is such an important skill. It’s a significant expression of caring, and I want to become better at it. Finally, I realized I want to step outside of my comfort zone more often. There were several moments during the event when I became vividly aware of my own presence there. I was the winner of a pie contest. It wasn’t a mistake. I belonged there.

p.s. I realize this isn’t the Academy Awards, but I would like to thank a few people. First, thanks to Julia for the initial inspiration, and for being the first recipe tester. Also, to my mom and sister for the last minute advice and ideas (and for coming down to Portland to be my chauffeurs!) Thanks also to Chris, Craig and Celly for showing up and winning all the raffles, and to Meg for being so very Meg. Extra special thanks to Patrick who allowed me the use of his kitchen for several hours the night before the event.


7 Responses to “Pietopia!”

  1. Tricia August 10, 2010 at 3:04 am #

    Thank you so much for your amazing story, your lovely pie, and your beautiful presence at Pietopia this year! I wish we had more time, but am grateful for meeting you this way none the less :). I’m so glad you had fun!

  2. Matt August 10, 2010 at 4:30 am #

    Congrats, Hannah! It sure looks delish 🙂

  3. Tom Stanton August 10, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    It definitely looks like a blue-ribbon pie. Congratulations on a job and pie well done. I’m looking at yummy entry and flashing back to the movie “Waitress.” I’m getting hungry.

  4. Margit Beerli August 11, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    Hannah, I loved seeing your photos of the pie event and your eloquent description of the great adventure of it all. I felt such a delight to be a winner, too, and I, too, loved the stretch of the experience. I think your readers would enjoy reading your essay. After all, it was the first step and your words moved me. And, it is the connection to your pie.

    Hope to see you soon,


    • hannahkane August 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Margit,

      Thanks for your comment. It was lovely to meet you (and sample the Rinky Dink Pie!). I think you and Caroline and I should all get together the next time we’re all in Portland.



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