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Friday, March 26, 2021

An Ugly Pie is Better Than No Pie

I was thinking that sometimes the foods that I prepare are not all that attractive. If I were to grade my meals, I think they'd be B-students on average. I rarely produce something that is A-level, and have only produced a complete F item, once. I should say that my grades would be based on several factors: appearance, taste, economy, and nutrition. Most of the time, I do well on economy and nutrition. Taste ranges from so-so to pretty good. Appearance seems to run the gamut. I've produced some remarkably unattractive meals before. And I've also produced a few really nice-looking meals. 

My pie fell in the less-attractive category this time. Here's a comparison:

A Pinterest pie

My pie

But here's the thing, it doesn't matter to my family one bit that I made an ugly pie, so long as it was tasty. And that's why I say an ugly pie is better than no pie. My family is smart enough to value mediocre-looking meals rather than have no meals at all.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with these thoughts. Perhaps I'm thinking about the futility of perfectionism in some areas of our lives. The pilot of my next airplane flight -- yes, I want perfectionism. The next time I need dental work that involves a drill -- yes, I want perfectionism. But the appearance of our daily meals -- hmm, I think my time may be wasted on perfectionism in that area.

Anyway, the pie was delicious!


  1. First, I think your pie looks lovely...yes, it looks homemade and that makes it so luscious looking!
    I was shaking my head Yes the whole time I read your post. I am not an A grade cook but I sure will make sure my family and guests are fed nutritious meals that usually taste quite good. As one friend once said when I was complaining about a relative "flop"...he told me that, yes, once in awhile I don't hit the bullseye but the majority of the time my cooking is great....I took that as a big compliment. It's kinda like if you aren't cooking....well, of course, no failures. But, if you cook all your meals and try to use up everything and save money, then there will be some less than stellar meals. But, I'll take that over tv dinners and cold cuts anyday.
    Thank you for being real with us! But, I think you're a great example for us all!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thank you for your thoughts. A lot of my cooking looks homemade, and I'm good with that.
      Have a great weekend!

  2. I agree! My foods often "look" terrible especially crockpot food. I think they all look terrible but the taste more than makes up for the "look". I mostly don't care about what the food looks like but it's interesting to see my kids take pictures of the plated food (the food that I make!) and send it off to each other! They send food that they make to each other and to us parents also! So maybe it looks different from one person to the next. Perspective.

    And I also have made total fail meals and more than once. I probably used a less than desirable ingredient and it turned out terrible. Once I mistakened worcestershire sauce for soy sauce and that stir fry was just awful. Other times, loaves of bread are bricks. At least that could be salvageable into french toast.

    1. Hi Alice,
      It surprises mw when someone takes a photo of their plate when they're eating at my house. Maybe they see the food from a different perspective than the cook does.
      I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Alice.

  3. Alice, I made a "brick-French toast" loaf of bread recently, but the taste was good. :)

    Lili, you have such an eye for how things look and a talent at making them look good. It's not a surprise to me that you are contemplating how your food looks. I am always impressed with how much thought you give to the nutritional value, variety, and taste that you put into your meals. All of those things trump looks in my book, but I'm pretty sure that if you can make it look good you do that, too. I wonder if your family thinks about the looks of their food at all--unless you've done something clever like you do sometimes.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      Well, I'm pretty sure some members of my family don't notice (or care) at all. When I baked the large birthday cake (not the cupcakes) for my daughters last weekend, I was complaining to one daughter about how the top layer of coconut/pecan frosting was sliding off the cake and not looking as pretty as when I had just spread it on top. My daughter thought I was nuts for being concerned about that. She thought it made the cake look more appealing. So, I do think that I see things I make differently from how other do. I see how what I made compares to what my imagined plan had been. But in the end, it's all about taste for our family meals.
      Have a good weekend, Live and Learn!

  4. Lynn from NC Outer BanksMarch 26, 2021 at 8:00 AM

    Totally agree that taste trumps presentation. But I think you are too hard on yourself. You have shown us many many times drool worthy cakes and pies and you definitely have an eye for flair. So maybe, as Live and Learn said, that's why you would think about this as well. I agree, I do try for good looking meals and desserts and am pleased when I like how they look. But still am more interested in how they taste, as Martha Stewart I'll never be! Everyone have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Lynn,
      I think I tend to be more visual in my approach to life. I see and imagine how things should look. So, you and Live and Learn are right on my being focused on how something is presented. Kind of hard-wired in.
      Thanks for your thoughts, Lynn. Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. How is that pie you made not a thing of beauty???? There are very few professionally made pies that have tasted as good or better than homemade, IMHO. I have made some truly ugly pies in my life but, no surprise, they always get eaten. Always. Typically homemade pies are made out of locally sourced foods and are adjusted to the personal tastes of the baker, and of course there is the "made with love" factor that adds to the whole experience. Give me a slightly wonky homemade pie any day over a bakery one.

    I think we may all be influenced by Pinterest and the cooking shows that are oh-so-popular on TV. I wonder if those kinds of things discourage the everyday person from trying their hand at something. I, too, am part of the group here that is more focused on nutrition and taste and less on appearance. Like Alice, I am surprised when my kids decide to take pictures of my cooking/baking but I take it as a compliment.

    It might be fun to do a post on cooking or baking fails we have had through the years. I know I've had a few!

    1. Hi Kris,
      I've thought a lot about what you said, about sources like Pinterest serving to discourage some people. I think that's such a tragedy. There needs to be a cooking magazine put together by real home-cooks, featuring these ordinary-looking meals, while emphasizing that appearances can be deceiving. Some of the best-tasting foods can look a bit shabby.

      I've been thinking about doing a post on cooking/baking fails. It may pop up next week. That could be fu to share.
      Enjoy your weekend, Kris!

  6. Looks scrumptious to me! A homemade "ugly" (though I wouldn't call it that) pie trumps a pretty storebought one any day in my book!

    1. Hi Cat,
      My family agrees! This pie was gone in no time. While not as "pretty" as commercial pies, the filling was considerably more flavorful (made with foraged berries) and the crust was much flakier. Taste wins over appearance in our house.
      Have a wonderful weekend, Cat!


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