Traveling Pies

Hugh Brown. Short-order cook, carpenter, mechanic, soldier, postman and racehorse trainer. Clown, Lutheran, baseball lover, habitual repairer and master builder. He built his family a three-story house in the early ‘50s. He built me a rockinghorse when I was a baby. He built damn good pies too ... Pumpkin and pecan at Thanksgiving (with pies it’s never EITHER always BOTH). Apple, hot with vanilla ice cream or cold with a slice of sharp cheddar. Cherry for my little brother’s birthday. Blueberry. Strawberry rhubarb. Peach when he visited us down south. Vidalia onion, once (or my memory’s wishful & hungry). Hugh knew: Damn good pies are built to be shared. A pie must travel or it’s just plain gloating. 

To ensure your pie arrives alive, you will need a pie carrier. You will build it like one of your pies: with your own hands, and alongside someone you can still teach to crack eggs or hammer straight. You’ll use simple tools, scrap wood, nails & screws, a whittled wooden handle. Your pie carrier will have a sliding door and a removable shelf. It will hold one tall cake or two classic pies. 

You’ll tape a label to the handle. Times New Roman, tiny American flag. Your name and the address of the assisted-living apartment you’ll move to when the tall house trounces your hip replacements. You’ll build pies there through your mid- 80s. 

Eventually, you will forget to put your constructions into the oven. You roll crusts, mix fillings, and end up elsewhere, derailed. The sturdy portable two-story pie carrier will wait on the kitchen table, its sliding mouth full of invisible passengers.


-Emily DeDakis is the daughter of a musician and a journalist. She grew up in the Southeast U.S. and emigrated to Belfast, N. Ireland, in 2005. As dramaturg & producer for Accidental Theatre, Emily has developed scripts with dozens of playwrights. Dramaturgy credits include: Gordon Osràm’s Funeral (2016); The Lost Martini (2015); The Kitchen, the Bedroom & the Grave  – winner of a Stewart Parker Trust award (2014); & The Dutiful Wife (2013). She founded the Belfast version of Fast & Loose, a 24-hour theatre project now in its 10th year. Emily’s prose has appeared in The VacuumThe Yellow NibUlster TatlerPoetry Proper, and on 2SER (Sydney). She is currently working on Shipwrecks & Lighthouses (a stage play), Stowaway City (a soundwalk) and F R E A K  FLOODS (a text-sound collaboration with harpist Úna Monaghan). 

(psst: See the companion story to "Traveling Pies" on our Noteworthy blog.)