I am soon, within a matter of a week or two, making my new book, Designer Pies, available on lulu.com. I have only a few important pages to add, and I have the tapestry for the cover image to finish. I have put my introduction to the book below.
I welcome comments, solicit them in fact, on the introduction below, and the idea itself.
I'm well into my second Eva Wynn-Rogers Small Hotels Mysteries - Red On Red, and want to have this Designer Pies books finished so I can get back to writing mystery and suspense.
Humble pie. How often we've heard that expression. Do you ever wonder what it means?
“He is eating humble pie,” is sometimes said of a person who is suffering in disgrace, and is now reaping the results of his actions.
The term, humble pie, is also sometimes used to describe a dessert, or entrée, of plain and ordinary food.
But I say this to you: Pie is anything but humble. I prefer the term I coined myself: Designer Pie.
Pie is a delicious and glorious concoction of wholesome ingredients assembled and baked into satisfying desserts and main dishes.
This manual is written for those who will make Designer Pies. The kind of pie that will make your customers eyes light up and their mouths water.
These pies are not factory-made pies. They don't come in a box from the freezer truck. You don't thaw them, bake them off, and place them in your lighted display in an effort to fool your customers into thinking you've baked them yourself. These pies are made from fresh, wholesome, ingredients. By you.
They are not hard to make.
This book will arm you with the information for making wonderful and easy designer pies, and also provide you with details to outfit your own “Designer Pie Shop,” at attractive starting and operating costs, and easily operated by just two persons. (Hire one or two employees if you feel the need, after you're up and running, and when your customers consume your morning's work in the blink of an eye.)
I came to the business of pies because of life's circumstances. I wasn't educated at a prestegious chef's institution. I learned about life and business flying by the seat of my pants and the sweat of my brow.
My family came to me early in my life. I longed to be educated for an important career, but I had to solve the problems of surviving on a limited income. I had to take advantage of any available avenue to become independent in the midst of raising a large family, and at the same time, operating businesses together.
Our famiy, that is to say, husband and children, his, mine and ours, at different ages, at different times, for a number of years worked in the hospitality business. At one point we opted out of that world and bought a bakery in a small town. A very small town.
The three children still at home worked along side of us, getting up before dawn six days a week, performing their jobs in the bakery, and on school days, returned home to prepare for their school day.
The bakery wasn't where I wanted to be. I wanted a career. So I sold real estate on the side.
I returned home after the children were at school, showered, hurried back to the bakery, hung up my “gold jacket”, and worked the counter while simultainously decorating birthday cakes in the back.
When I had an appointment I donned my gold jacket and set out. Afterward I returned to the bakery to finish the work still waiting for me there.
We hired one young woman to work at the counter part-time, so my husband could nap on the stacks of flour sacks in the storage room, raising every so often to take racks of bread and rolls from the steam room and put them into the rotating deck oven to bake.
To tempt the townsfolk, he timed some of his baking to coincide with mealtimes, then turned on the exhaust fans to force the fragrent fumes out into the street.
Our family knew how to work hard, and we did what we had to do. We made such a success of that bakery that my husband fell ill from too much work. It was the one lucky break in that entire exhausting experience. He couldn't work for months, and we lost the business. Soon after he recovered we returned to the hospitality business, operating small to medium properties during renovation, outfitting and opening new properties, moving from place to place, dragging our unwilling children along with us.
We always hired on as a team. My husband was always General Manager, and I was always his Second Banana. I think it's appropriate to think of our team that way, since I was always the Food Director.
I developed a strategy. Menus first. The menus dictated equipment, small wares, and kitchen layout. Because I developed my menus first, always breakfast, lunch and dinner, I avoided over-ambitious purchases and saved our employers a great deal of money. Everything fell naturally into place.
Eventually we settled outside of Kansas City, Missouri, operated a small motel and busy restaurant for several years, then leased the restaurant.
It was then I developed my pie business, providing desserts to the restaurant. I named my little business “The Pie Lady”, and operated it alone. I knew exactly what equipment I needed to operate this little business. It wasn't much. I bought the essential equipment and baked my pies off-site and sold them to the restaurant.
I developed short cuts, found a way to reduce the sugar content in fruit pies while improving flavor, and bought a fancy pie press to make easy work of the pie crusts.
It was not unusual for me to bake fifty to sixty pies, by myself, in a four hour morning session.
In my free time . . . yes, I now had free time. I tested recipes. I changed a few things here and there, and eventually amassed a fine collection of recipes for pies, crusts and toppings.
The result of my hard work is in this handy manual with all of my information . . . enough to educate yourself before opening your own Designer Pie Shop.
This manual will help you to avoid overspending and overworking, because just two people can operate this shop, working a normal day,
It is not the aim of this book to show you how to include soups, salads, and/or sandwiches to your menu. Those subjects will be addressed in upcoming books. It is the sole aim in this book to show you how to set up a stand-alone Designer Pies business.
I can hardly wait to see what new things you come up with as you add your own delicious recipes to the ones I offer you in this manual.
But now we have work to do. Let's begin.