by Mindi Epstein
A trip down Memory Lane can begin with the lingering aroma of perfume or the strains of a forgotten song.
For the Hardie family, it’s a whiff of Betty’s mouth-watering Peach Cream Pie that brings at least 30 years of past memories into sharp focus.
Lisa Freeman, JCC Arts and Education Program Coordinator, describes her mother-in-law, Betty Hardie, as a Midwestern, solid cook who comes from a long line of bakers.
The family is fairly certain that Betty learned the peach pie recipe from her mother, but all suspect that it has been a family staple for generations before that.
A long tradition such as this of perfectly baked pies can intimidate the uninitiated. Though a prolific baker herself, Lisa never dared attempt to make this pie.
“Baking is therapeutic,” explains Lisa. “As much as I love to bake, I do mostly cookies; pies not so much.”
Though Lisa’s desserts have become a family Thanksgiving tradition in their own right, she never ventured into Betty’s realm of pie baking.
As Betty entered her golden years, her pie-baking became less frequent until it stopped altogether. In the meantime, Lisa’s treats continued to grace holiday dinners while Betty’s pie slipped into the past.
The Indianapolis Star’s annual Pie Contest turned that around. In honor of Betty and the long family tradition, Lisa bravely tackled the time-honored recipe…only to learn that it wasn’t too complicated after all.
Lisa delivered a steaming hot Peach Cream Pie to Jolene Ketzenberger, food writer at the Star, and soon learned that she had taken Honorable Mention for her entry, placing it in the top 5. Betty’s Peach Cream Pie was featured in the Indianapolis Star, which was a better tribute than anyone could have imagined as a way to honor Betty.
Lisa’s baking repertoire now includes peach cream pie. She whips them up with ease now, saying “Sugar plus butter equals love.”
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