Shannon’s youngest brother, Pete, was supposed to come round for dinner last night, so she cooked a blueberry pie in the afternoon. She was amazed I’d never had one. I watched as she mixed in sugar, cinnamon and the juice from a lemon I’d grabbed from the tree at the front of the house (Skip the dog is a champion lemon-plucker, but that’s another story).
When I got back from my run, the pie was cooling on the kitchen counter. “Too hot a day to put it on the windowsill like in the cartoons, eh?” I remarked. “To me, blueberry pie is the definitive American dish.”
“No, apple pie is the definitive American dish,” she said. “As in ‘As American as apple pie’.”
“Yeah, but we eat apple pie in the UK all the time. Blueberry pie is uniquely American.”
“You don’t have blueberries in Britain?”
“Nope. With airfreighted produce you might get them now, but I’ve never seen them anywhere. Apple, cherry or gooseberry pie yes – as well as something we call rhubarb crumble — but never blueberry.”
“But we do eat a lot of apple pie. What’s a gooseberry?”
“A gooseberry is what Pete will be at dinner tonight. We also eat a lot of apple pie, and you got it from us. But blueberry pies are what you see in American cartoons. Where would be the joy of throwing an apple pie at someone? In Tom and Jerry, it would be blueberry pies every time. There’d be a couple cooling off on the windowsill and Jerry would splat Tom with them. You’d get that purplish goo running down his face. Apple pies just don’t stack up: they have no comedic value whatsoever. Blueberries are uniquely American. It should be ‘As American as blueberry pie’.”
Pete didn’t show for dinner. He missed a great blueberry pie.