1. Yep. I’m not sure why pies have a reputation for difficulty, but people always seem very impressed when I make pies. (I’m not a skilled cook or anything, I just follow the instructions step-by-step.)

  2. I think it’s more a reference to how pies (pie crusts, etc.) are hard to make perfectly, but she has more proficiency in cookies and cakes.


  3. It’s the other way around: note the bemused smiles on her colleagues’ faces: they are all reacting to the fact that she cannot produce a pie chart, in direct conflict with the classic description “…as easy as pie…” Pies are in fact easier than cakes, in that they are much less sensitive to slight variations in the amounts called for by the recipe. It does take a little experience (and the right tools) to produce an acceptable crust, but for those who find a standard crust too challenging, anyone can produce a graham cracker crust, even without practice.

  4. Your average pie – chicken and leek for instance – would be made in a tin or other container. The pastry may be a bit rough round the edges, depending on the rusticity of the look you are going for, but basically it should conform to the shape of the container.

    A pizza “pie” (as when the moon hits your eye, etc) that you make yourself and roll out the base of by inexpert hand is far more likely, in my experience, to have suboptimal circularity as per the chart in the cartoon.

    I personally don’t think of a pizza as a pie, being too flat, even though apparently pizza in Italian literally means “pie”. In fact, “pizza chart” as a business graphics term would make more sense to me than “pie chart” does – to me, pies are often pretty liquid internally and the segments cut out of them non-uniform and rough-edged with flaky pastry, whereas pizzas are usually sliced up in very precise wedges.

  5. Nick, I am a little amazed to see that cockie-leekie offered as “your average pie”! But to each their own!

    You might in turn be interested to know that for the average U.S. person, typical pie is neither meat pie (or “pot pie” which we do have) nor pizza “pie” but fruit pie.

  6. billybob: not if you have a plate or saucer handy. Or a drinking glass or shot glass, for smaller cases.

  7. Or a pork pie, though they are pretty solid and eaten cold. You can shove them in a pocket when you go for a walk. (Talking of lockdowns, as we were, we here are now allowed one piece of exercise a day, which can be a jog or a walk or a cycle ride, but must be alone or with other members of our household).


  8. Among comedians, I would guess “pie” makes them first think of a big whipped-cream pie, perfect for throwing.

  9. Pies are easier than cakes.

    For years the PA Dutch shoo fly pie was our favorite – now we have two favorites – chocolate shoo fly pie and funny cake (a sort of vanilla cake in a pie shell with liquid chocolate between the cake and shell.

  10. I think she’s saying that her cookie chart here is a lot harder to make than a pie chart, not easier. Note that she says “This was way hard…” And if she’s going to the trouble to make sure that the areas of the slices are the correct percentages, then it certainly would be.

    Cake, however, should probably be pancake. Cakes are baked in forms, so they aren’t going to lose their shape the way cookies do. Pancakes, on the other hand, usually do turn out irregular.

  11. I thought a pork pie was meant to be worn on the head when taking a walk, not shoved in a pocket.

  12. We call them “camemberts” and the one in the comic is pretty far gone (which means it’s not one of those industrial, pasteurized, plaster-like horrors, hence good).

  13. First post here, please be kind!

    This is puzzling, since the “pie chart” is shaped like a drop cookie.

    I don’t know of anyone who has trouble making round pies, it’s crusts with good texture and taste that are a challenge. I can’t manage good crusts either, but that’s why the ancient Greek gods gave us frozen pie crusts. They’re not pastry chef quality, but they’re better than mine.

    BTW, as my daily dose of pedantry, since such seems more acceptable here than in most places: without wishing to offend, I might mention that “bemused” and “amused” aren’t synonyms.

  14. Welcome, LeVieuxLapin. So THAT’s where those frozen pie crusts come from! (Actually, I often use them, too. If my stepdaughter is involved, I’ll ask her to make the crust, because she does it so well. Me, not so much. But my butterscotch filling recipe is excellent.)

  15. It’s easy to draw circles with an Etch-a-Sketch. You have to know about simple harmonic motion. Think of a swinging pendulum. With your right hand, turn the knob back and forth like a pendulum, starting slow, speeding up and slowing down again. Now with your left hand, do the same but start when the right hand is in the middle of the swing, and hit the middle when the right hand gets to the end of the swing, and continue like that.

  16. But speaking of harmonic motions, I still recall with some fascination an installation at the Exploratorium in San Francisco I saw many years ago. In two different ways but with the same results – mechanical linkages and computing – if you have (or simulate) a plumb which swings in two or three different axes, with independent amplitudes and periods, the line it traces on the surface below it will be complicated but comprehensible, and sometimes gorgeous, Lissajous figures.

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