It’s Pi day.  March 14th.  3-14.  Pi=3.14… Get it?

I think it’s worth celebrating.  Any reason to celebrate, right?

First_thousand_digits_of_pi.

Pi.

Pi is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet.

Pi is also the symbol assigned to represent the relationship between the circumference (distance around the outside) of a circle and its diameter (the distance across a circle if you cut it exactly in half).  For any circle – and I really do mean any circle of any size – if you divide the circumference of that circle by the diameter of that circle you will always get Pi.

Pi, as a number, is irrational.  Being irrational means you cannot write Pi as a simple fraction.  There is no way to divide two numbers and end up without a remainder.  As a decimal, it means that none of the digits after the decimal will repeat indefinitely or terminate.  {It is similar to having an argument with someone who is irrational.  They never seem to return to the same point twice, and if they do, it’s only briefly and they are off in another direction… You can never get to the end of an argument like that, can you?}

Pi is approximately 3.14159. An easy way to recall the digits is to remember the sentence, “May I have a large container of butter today.”  Each word contains the number of letters that correspond to the digits in the decimal.  Just in case you need to know.  🙂

Math lesson ended, let’s move on to baking.

Pie.

Pie is a baked dish which usually has pastry dough containing (and sometimes completely encasing) sweet or savory filling.  Most people associate pie with a round pie plate filled with a sweet filling and served for dessert.  However, the American Pie Council claims fruit pie originated in the 19th century as a breakfast food to prepare for a particularly long day.

According to a 2008 survey by Crisco and the American Pie Council, pie is America’s favorite dessert. Pie is not just for dessert nowadays, either.  According to the same study, 35% of Americans have eaten pie for breakfast, 66% have pie for lunch, and 59% have pie for a midnight snack.

So what does all of this have to do with Cultivating Grace?  Probably nothing, but since my personality type is driven to find connections, I came up with one.

Here’s a little look at how my brain works:

Pi is a number which keeps going forever and does not look the same from one digit to the next.  Pie is a highly favored dessert that should be repeated often.

Pie is a great way to extend hospitality.  Hospitality doesn’t have to look the same for everyone.  And often it looks very different from one instance to the next.

So…. hospitality is like Pi!  And Pie is a great way to offer hospitality.  So hospitality is the relationship between Pi (an irrational, infinitely extending number) and Pie (a delicious pastry filled with yumminess).

Lots of times we think of hospitality as entertaining, but it doesn’t have to be.

  • Hospitality can be taking a pie to a neighbor or to a pot luck dinner as much as having someone in your home.
  • Hospitality might be meeting someone for a picnic where you both bring part of the meal.
  • Peanut butter (or in our case, Wow Butter, since we have a peanut allergy) sandwiches are just as hospitable as Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Freezer pops on the lawn with neighborhood kids counts.  So does a big batch of snow ice cream (if winter.just.won’t.end where you are).
  • Hospitality can be delivering a bag of jelly beans or a handful of daffodil bulbs you dug out of your garden.
  • Hospitality can be a cup of tea delivered to an elderly neighbor while you rake her leaves.
  • It can also be a bucket of fried chicken or a couple of pizzas you pick up on the way over.
  • Maybe hospitality is having kids over to play or going to a friend’s house to help them prepare for a garage sale.
  • It might be asking someone along for a WalMart run or a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Hospitality could be inviting your kids to help you make a pie. 🙂

Really my point is simple.  Hospitality is something we need to do.  Romans 12:13 instructs us to practice hospitality, and 1 Peter 4:9 says to do it without grumbling.  And since 1 John 4:18 reminds us perfect love casts out all fear and Philippians 4:6 tells us we are to be anxious about nothing (given that the Lord is at hand – Philippians 4:5), being afraid to have people over isn’t really an excuse either.  You don’t even have to have anyone over.

So, how about it?  Would you be willing  to celebrate Pi Day with me?  Or maybe Day-After-Pi-Day, if the weekend suits you better?

Why not make pie for your family?  Maybe you could double the recipe and take one to a neighbor, co-worker, pastor, or friend? (Not that pastors, neighbors, and co-workers aren’t friends… lol)

Is making a pie intimidating?  Here’s an easy recipe you might enjoy.

First, Pie Crust:

If the definition of pie is a pastry filled with something, it all starts with the pastry, right?  I’ve adopted Pilsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts (they are egg free, and we have an egg allergy).  Talk about easy!  I do actually roll the crusts out so that they are thinner.  A thinner crust becomes flaky.  I can get two pies from one Pilsbury crust.  Rolling out a ready-made crust is completely optional.

Apple Pie

Apple pie

    • 5-6 apples, dipped in lemon (enough to double the height of the pie plate, I like Granny Smith or Stayman Apples)
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 Tbs. flour
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • one pie crust, rolled so the circle is several inches wider than the pie plate

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Roll the pie crust until it drapes to the counter when you lay it in the pie plate.
3.  Mix the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
4.  Peel and core the apples.  Cut into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with a little bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.
5.  Spread half of the apples in the pie plate, on top of the crust.  Sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture.  Repeat with the rest of the apples and sugar mixture.
6.  Slice the butter into thin pats and scatter them over the top of the pie.
7.  Gently turn the edge of the pie crust up and over the pie.  The center of the pie will be uncovered.  You can fold it prettily, but it mostly just “drapes” over the top of the pie.  This eliminates the need for a top crust, lattice top, venting, etc.  I like to sprinkle the top of the crust with a little white sugar or cinnamon sugar to make it pretty.
8.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 (without removing pie) and continue baking for 35 more minutes.  Let the pie cool for at least 10 minutes (if you can stand it!) so the juices thicken before serving.

Want more?

Comment on my blog, Tweet about this post, share on your Facebook wall, or Pin it and I’ll send you recipes for Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, Chocolate Pie,  and an exceptionally easy Fruit Cobbler (for when you don’t have crust!).

Send me an e-mail to let me know you’ve shared and a mini-PDF cookbook will arrive in your inbox!

Bonus:  The Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken Pot Pie have freeze-ahead versions!

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First 1,000 digits of Pi by Tom Murphy (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons