Several years ago I attended a seminar about the history of food writing and women in the food and beverage industry. This seminar had several different speakers with various backgrounds… from a local chef and restaurateur, to a woman who ran her family’s cattle ranch, to a restaurant critic and several cookbook authors and reporters.
These women came from such different backgrounds yet had one thing in common, food. It was so interesting listening to them speak and share their personal stories and explain what part of the food industry they were passionate about. One of the speakers, an author, shared how she hosts a pie social once a year to raise money and awareness for a charity close to her heart. As this woman spoke, I could not only feel her energy and passion, I could see it on her face. She not only cared about the charity she was trying to raise money for, but she explained that pie socials have been happening for decades as a way for communities to bond. That it was amazing to watch someone’s face light up as they gathered around a table full of pies, carefully choosing the flavor they liked best, then sitting down to have happy, peaceful conversations… bonding over a simple thing like pie.
As the words escaped her lips, I was instantly taken back to a time I have never known, but could only imagine. A time before computers. A time when people barely watched TV. A time when neighborhood block parties still existed. A time when people knew their neighbors. Right then and there I knew I wanted to have a good ole fashioned summer pie social!
It seems like everyone I know is under a lot of stress right now. If not one thing with one friend, it is another thing with someone else. That is why I decided this summer was the perfect time to finally have that pie social I have always dreamed of. A time where we could all kick back and relax!
I have mentioned several times that I love to entertain. I love the planning, the prep and the ear to ear smiles of all my guests. So a pie social was a no brainer, despite the fact that it took me years to make it happen. However, just like everyone else, my life has been pretty hectic lately. But, I didn’t want this to be an excuse! So I kept things classic and simple and took a few short cuts here and there. In the end, we had a pie social that was a smashing success!
Below are some of my tips and tricks that helped me throw together a pie social in no time! I hope this inspires you to bring together your friends, family, neighbors and community to have your own pie social!
The Pies and Other Food: Lets start with the obvious shall we! When I envisioned my pie social, I knew I wanted a lot of pies. I mean, it is a pie social after all! And sure, I could have made homemade pies, but that was just something I didn’t have time to do. So I headed to my local Walmart and I picked up some EDWARDS® Whole Pies from the frozen food aisle. Not only was this super convenient, since Edwards pies are frozen, they just have to be thawed before serving, no baking necessary (this is huge for me, since it is SUPER hot outside)! I also love that Edwards pies comes in a ton of different flavors, from Key Lime to Lemon Meringue, to several for all those chocolate lovers, like Cookies and Crème and Turtle; meaning there is something for everyone! And not only did these pies save me time, in the long run it saved me a lot of money on buying ingredients for homemade pies too. While you could certainly have a pie social with just dessert pies, since the only time we had available to host our party was at dinner time, I did whip up a few savory pies (a Tomato Basil Pie and Sausage and Pepper Quiche) and a garden salad to serve as well. This not only kept with our pie theme, but by only making the savory pies, didn’t require too much extra work! Other food you might want to have is drinks like coffee, water and milk.
Pie Garnishes: I knew I wanted the pies to be the star of the night, so I wanted to make sure they all looked fantastic. Even though I took the shortcut and used the Edwards frozen pies for my pie social, I didn’t just want to throw the boxes on the serving table. I carefully removed the pies not only from their boxes, but removed most of them, while still partially frozen, from their aluminum pie plates to put on cake stands. I then added a little extra garnish to several of the pies. For the Strawberry Crème, Key Lime and Lemon Meringue Pies, adding some fresh strawberries or sliced lime/lemons adds a lovely pop of color to each pie. For the Cookies and Cream, some whole or mini chocolate sandwich cookies pressed into to whip cream border also adds a special touch. I also had extra whip cream, chocolate and caramel sauce and maraschino cherries on hand for serving during the festivities!
The Display: I originally imagined placing all the pies on different sized cake stands, however the cake stands I have weren’t big enough and I didn’t have much room in my party budget to buy more. So what did I do… a tiny kitchen hack! For an instant cake stand, simply flip a bowl over (so the open side faces down) and stack a plate on top. This worked beautifully and no one knew the difference! Just don’t forget to take the plate off the bowl to slice! Since this was a pie party and we had all kinds of pies, I also included as part of the display, little chalkboards where I wrote the name of each pie. This made for easy reference as guests served themselves.
The Decor: Since I wanted a classic 1950’s/picnic style pie social, I kept the décor really simple. I went with a red, blue and tan/burlap color scheme. I started with a red gingham tablecloth on my wooden table and then picked pieces from my home, like a few wooden rolling pins, a metal bucket filled with wooden spoons and wire whisks; and paired them with a few kitchen knickknacks from my Mother-In-Law’s house and bright fresh flowers!
Serving Utensils: Make sure and have plenty of pie servers/spatulas and knives on hand to easily serve all the pies. Paper plates, cups, napkins and wooden forks (for a special, unique look) in the party colors, kept things simple and clean! I had also wanted to get cute little single slice pie to go boxes, to send guests home with any leftovers, but could not find what I was looking for, hopefully for the next pie party!
There you have it my friends… a good ole fashion summer pie social! This was so fun to organize and plan and was such a hit that I think I’ll make it an annual tradition!
And for a limited time you can save even more on your next purchase of EDWARDS® Whole Pies at Walmart! Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) EDWARDS® Whole Pie by taking advantage of the Walmart EDWARDS® Ibotta digital rebate (while supplies last). For more information about EDWARDS® Pies and for other fun ideas, visit EDWARDS® Pies online and follow them on Facebook!