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Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Country Pies and Womanish Observations

Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Country Pies and Womanish Observations

4.8 7
by Patty Pinner, Alexandra Grablewski (Photographer)

"Women sharpen women. I'm convinced that you can learn a lot about a woman based on what she feeds herself and the people she loves; a woman's recipes—especially her prized recipes—are a revelation of who the woman is: what she thinks, how she behaves, what she values, and how she lives her life."
This is a collection of 70 such pie recipes,


"Women sharpen women. I'm convinced that you can learn a lot about a woman based on what she feeds herself and the people she loves; a woman's recipes—especially her prized recipes—are a revelation of who the woman is: what she thinks, how she behaves, what she values, and how she lives her life."
This is a collection of 70 such pie recipes, gathered from the women in author Patty Pinner's life—family, friends, women who are part of her own personal history. What distinguishes this book is its utterly beguiling storytelling—each recipe is accompanied by a story told on the woman known for making the pie, from Sister Baby's Buttermilk Pie to Miss Hatfield and Her Jelly Pies. It also filled with the truths handed down by our mothers (or that we wish had been handed down by our mothers) like: "An unhappy husband will ask for toasted snow" and "You don't want a man who is jealous of nothing "or "everything." This is a cookbook that's about love, life, family, friendship, and community as much as it is about the recipes.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I'm having a hard time making up my mind which is more delicious—Patty Pinner's glorious words or these heavenly pies! I've read all the words—and now I'm working my way through the pies—I'll get back to you on this asap and I suggest you undertake your own study of this weighty question IMMEDIATELY. This is the PERFECT discussion for book clubs—but don't talk with your mouth full!" —Jill Conner Browne, THE Sweet Potato Queen

"Sweety Pies is a beautifully written homage to all that sustains us. Generous, loving, funny, and knowing, this book is indeed 'an uncommon collection.' It is also a blessing and a delight." —Julia Reed, author, Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena

"Sweety Pies is a beautifully written culinary memoir about memory, the bond between recipe givers, and the attitude of women in the kitchen. It celebrates the love and sweetness of family and friends cooking and eating together. Sweety Pies is fresh, new, and hot... so light your oven and enjoy."
—Dr. Vertamae Grosvenor, cultural correspondent, National Public Radio, author and culinary griot

"Patty Pinner gives a new perspective on the inherently luscious, seductive nature of the home-baked pie. Written with generous helpings of wit, wisdom, and sass, this wonderful cookbook captures the magic and poetry of women who share soulfulness and love through their kitchens. If there's such a thing as a sensual cookbook, this is it." —Norma Jean & Carole Darden, authors of Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine

"Some cookbook authors struggle to come up with things to say about their recipes. Not Patty Pinner; her recipes are firmly rooted in delicious stories about thewomen who provided them. Sweety Pies tickled me so much that I called friends and enthusiastically read passages aloud. The womanish observations are every bit as good as the pies." —Sylvia Carter, Newsday

If you find sustenance in the narrative as well as the eating of pie, this is your book. Subtitled "An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, With Pie," the homespun volume tells a story with every recipe. For their creators — women from author Patty Pinner's life in Saginaw, Mich., — the pies become potent vehicles of self-expression. Pie fillings range beyond the traditional to incorporate such ingredients as beans, mandarin oranges, grits and rice —The Baltimore Sun

"Patty Pinner's new cookbook delivers dollop after dollop of womanly wisdom along with a slice of pie. In Sweety Pies she invites the reader into her kitchen and into the arms of the women in her life - Mama, the postmistress, Aunt Helen, Cousin Gwendolyn. Pinner, a postal worker who lives in Saginaw, Mich., describes herself as a "descendant of that generation where a woman's appearance, manner and domestic prowess were synonymous with her feminine identity." The best homemakers were those who kept a spotless house and could crimp a crust and bake a pie as beautifully as Martha Stewart. She introduces these women in the stories leading to each recipe. These snapshots of a bygone era make it difficult to decide what to do first: read about the women who influenced Pinner or get out the flour and shortening and bake a pie. Throughout the stories arethe "golden nuggets of female truth" that Pinner's mother dispensed - "a man hates to be ignored" or "Sweet talk can't buy rice." —The Hartford Courant
"Patty Pinner's Sweety Pies' offers simple, appealing pies with a hearty side of womanish observations' — the sort of tales that often involve baking for and from the heart and people with names such as Chestermae and Miss Mattie. Her Redemption Hazelnut Pie was amazingly sweet and nutty. The book also contains many unusual pies, such as Sister Shirley Woo

Library Journal

Pinner, who works for the post office in Saginaw, MI, comes from a large family of cooks and bakers. Her first book, Sweets: Soul Food Desserts & Memories, includes some of her favorite pie recipes, and here are even more, along with memories and anecdotes about the women who contributed the recipes. There's a story about each pie and lots of homespun wisdom ("An unhappy husband will ask for toasted snow") from Pinner's mother and other bakers. While some readers may find the small-town tales a bit wearying, others will find them an amusing reflection of a mostly bygone era. For larger baking collections.

—Judith Sutton

Product Details

Taunton Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.31(w) x 9.34(h) x 0.83(d)

Meet the Author

Patty Pinner is the author of Sweets: A Collection of Soul Food Desserts and Memories, which Maida Heater called “a rare treasure.” An employee of the U.S. Postal Service, she lives in Saginaw, Michigan.

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Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Country Pies and Womanish Observations 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
DollyEW More than 1 year ago
I just thoroughly enjoyed this book! The authored did a wonderful job of bringing to life and sharing her family, friends and acquaintances--through pie!
MamaGinger More than 1 year ago
My husband gave me this book for my birthday a couple of years ago and it got me addicted to pie baking. My favorite recipes (so far) are the "Cousin Eunice's Grated Carrot Pie" (it's custardy like a Pumpkin Pie, only made with carrots) and the "Old-Time Chocolate Meringue Pie" (which I also make with a graham cracker crust). Besides the great recipes, this book is also an entertaining read. With each recipe Ms. Pinner includes a little anticdote about the recipe's author (a friend or family member) and her advice on men (how to get them, how to keep them, etc.) I've read this book cover to cover, which I can't say I've done with any other cookbook. I love this book so much, my husband just bought me her other book for Christmas, "Sweets", which is also entaining in the same way. I've only had a chance to dip my nose into that book (and it's recipes), which has stories and recipes from her grandmother, My My, and family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Veggiechiliqueen More than 1 year ago
Patty Pinner, author of the phenomenal Sweets: Soul Food Desserts & Memories, grew up in a large African-American family that had relocated to Michigan from the South. In Sweety Pies, she collects 70 recipes for various kinds of pies, including fruit, nut, cereal, cream and custard, sweet vegetable, and meringue. Like any good cook, she begins with the basics: an in-depth primer on basic pie crusts with step-by-step instructions for single and double pie crusts, sweet tart crust, how to prebake your pie crust, and a detailed guide (complete with photographs) on decorative crimped edges (flagged edge, pinched, rope, scalloped, lattice top) and finishing your pie (polished top and pie toppers).

But Patty's heartwarming stories of the lives behind the pie recipes nearly upstages the cookbook function; lavishly illustrated with vintage black-and-white photos, the sassy, classy women in Patty's young life growing up in Saginaw dominate the pages with a take-no-nonsense attitude, from a jilted wife who one-ups her man by attracting interest from other men until her husband begs to come home, to the glamorous lives of some of her neighbors like Miss Dezarae in her diamonds and mink coats, to her Mama's own quiet strength and legendary talent in the kitchen. The pie recipes are almost an afterthought from the depths of these snapshots in time.

The pie recipes are simple and clearly explained, although the recipe format is a little unorthodox since the memoirs take center stage (the recipes wrap along the bottom of the memoirs). Sure, there are common recipes such as strawberry rhubarb, apple pie, pecan pie, and sweet potato, but there are some fascinating recipes born of thriftiness, such as Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes pies, white potato pie (basically, mashed potatoes), Orange Tang pie, and a navy bean custard pie. There are also some divine and unexpected pairings such as the coconut pumpkin, apple meringue, and peanut butter cream that are revelations.

The recipes call for simple, normal household ingredients, so you won't find yourself running off to specialty stores or health food stores trying to track down rarities as with some cookbooks. This is soul food at its best: a warm, sugary blend of fruit, sugar, gossip, and most of all, love, that is a heartwarming gift for any young woman in your life, especially those who are starting out in their own kitchens and looking for a little friendly guidance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first cookbook that I've actually taken to bed and read like a novel. Such a thought provoking cookbook. Every mother ought to gift this book to her daughter(s).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patty Pinner is the most talented story teller and recipe chronicler. Her cookbooks go way beyond just giving out recipes. The stories that accompany each recipe make you feel the spirit of the dish and of the woman whose recipe it belongs to. Patty's cookbooks are sensual, thought-provoking, and sources of wonderful recipes and womanly advice. I can't wait to see what she does next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the beginning, I couldn't put this exceptional book down. One minute I was perusing through the mouthwatering pie recipes and the next, I was reading one of the beguiling womanly stories that head up each recipe. This is a grown woman's cookbook for sure, and I absolutely love it. Patty Pinner is the reigning cookbook diva!! nobody can give a recipe the way Patty can.