Food & Drink

Pie vs. cake: You can’t have it both ways

I always thought Simon got a raw deal.

Here he was, minding his own business, on his way to a fair. He encounters a man selling pies – tempting, delicious pies. Naturally, he asks for a sample. Who wouldn’t?

But the pie man, whose name has apparently been lost to history, was having none of it. He wanted to charge Simon for a sample, unlike so many of today’s grocery stores that offer samples for free. Simon did not have a penny to spare – fairs aren’t cheap – so the pie man sent him on his way, hungry and forlorn.

And for this, Simon has universally come to be known as Simple. Obviously, Mother Goose was a cake person.

There are two kinds of people in this world, pie people and cake people. You’re either one or the other. Never have I heard anyone say, “I like cakes and pies equally.”

Personally, I’m in Simple Simon’s camp. It’s pies all the way. Just think of it: A buttery crust baked to a golden brown and filled with toasted pecans suspended in a sweet amber nectar. Or sweet cherries balanced by just the right amount of tartness. Or smooth and silken chocolate topped with a decadent pile of whipped cream.

On the other hand, you have cake. It’s just cake. Pedestrian, ordinary, sponge-like, bland cake.

And cakes often come out of a box. Even the ones that don’t come out of a box sometimes taste like they came out of a box. Sometimes they taste like the box.

Yes, the frosting is good. I’m all in favor of frosting. If only you could put it on something that wasn’t cake.

Pies are always festive and special; they are a party unto themselves. But you can buy a cake in a sheet.

Any occasion at all becomes an occasion for a sheet cake. You’re having a birthday? Have some sheet cake. You’re retiring early so other employees won’t be laid off? That’s remarkably selfless and generous of you. Have some sheet cake.

Sheet cakes don’t seem terribly celebratory anymore. Maybe it’s the repetition, but I think it is more that they are just cakes.

Even in their smaller versions, pies win out every time. Mini tarts? Great. Cupcakes? Overpriced trendy treats.

I’m sure some cake people are perfectly nice. A little bland, perhaps, but nice. They are probably well-intentioned. Their hearts are likely in the right place.

But pie people are where it’s at. We’re exciting, dynamic, vibrant. We don’t need to call cake people “Simple” just to feel better about ourselves.

  Comments