Monday, November 21, 2011

Pie, Oh My!

The fall harvest is upon us and suddenly we have a hankering for pie. Pie collectibles, that is!

The flea market is the place for all things pie—from bake-off cookbooks to painted pie safes. Right off the bat, we found a pile of old pie crimpers, perfect for making decorative edges. Vintage pie crimpers can run upwards of $100 if the handle is made of Bakelite, but Kitty picked out a wooden-handled one and got the price down from $18 to $12. We also saw rolling pins by the dozens. Kitty fell in love with a marble one with red handles. It set her back $15, but it comes with the good blessing of every pastry it has ever rolled out!

Along the way, we saw some larger “pie” pieces, including a rustic sign that read “Mom’s Homemade Pies Baked To Perfection.” But the find of the day was a lemon-yellow pie safe with a wonderful weathered look. Pie safes are cabinets with chicken wire or punched-tin doors that keep the varmints out while the pies cool. The vendor was asking $325 for the antique one we found, but Jennifer bargained her way to $275. Easy as pie!

Four and Twenty Blackbirds
Since Victorian times, professional bakers (and grandmas!) have used ceramic pie birds to funnel steam out of pies and prevent them from bubbling over. Blackbirds are the most common pie vents, but if you keep an eye out you might be lucky enough to spot a blue bird, a rooster, or even the elusive red cardinal. These little birds are bursting with personality so get yourself a classic crow for about $15 and place it in a niche as a whimsical objet d’art. But be warned, pie birds are so cute you may wind up with a whole flock!

Flying Saucers
No country kitchen is complete without pie tins, especially ones embossed with phrases like “Mello Rich Pie” and “Flaky Crust.” Back in the day, bakeries had their names embossed in the bottoms of their pie tins. A homemaker who reused the pan would be reminded how much easier it would be to buy a fresh pie from “Mrs. Smith’s.” Legend has it that college students used to play toss with tins that read “Frisbie’s Pies”—a game that led to the invention of the Frisbee! These days, Frisbie pie tins can sell for $50 apiece, but we found a “Py-O-My Ice Box Pie” pan for just $3!

Decorating A La Mode
Ice cream scoops look cheerful even when they’re not serving up sundaes, so why not add a scoop of fun to your pie d├ęcor with a few of these old-fashioned dippers? Collect ice cream scoops in turquoise, green, and yellow, then hang them on a narrow wall, one over the other. You can get scoops for as little as $1 at the flea market so pick up an extra one for your gadget drawer, and you’ll be ready to serve anything a la mode!

Expect To Pay
Ice Cream Scoops $1 to $20
Embossed Pie Tins $3 to $50
Rolling Pins $5 to $20
Recipe Pie Plates $5 to $25
Silver-plated Pie Servers $7 to $25
Wooden-handled Dough Crimpers $12 to $40
Pie Carriers $15 to $35
Pie Birds $15 to $75
Pie Safes $250 to $2500

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