Notable Edibles

A Slice of Pie for a Good Cause

By Erica Krug | Photos By Erica Krug 0

If my math is right, about 133 of the people who attended REAP Food Group's Pie Palooza at the Goodman Community Center in Madison have admitted to eating pie in bed. I learned this when I found a sunny spot at a table with two 20-something men who had discovered the pie trivia located on each table at the affair celebrating this ubiquitous treat.

The sold-out event, REAP's ninth annual, raised over $6,000 for its programs dedicated to connecting "land to table" and promoting a local food system, such as providing Madison schools with healthy snacks. Chefs and bakers from Madison-area restaurants including Batch Bakehouse, Honey Bee Bakery, L'Etoile & Graze, Madison Sourdough Company, Porchlight Products and RP's Pasta created and donated pies like salted caramel apple, spaghetti carbonara with bacon, roasted shallot quiche with aged Gouda and sauerkraut custard. There were traditional pies too - pumpkin, pecan and cheesecake.

A hard-to-get ticket got you two slices of pie—one savory, one sweet—with an option of making it à la mode, a green salad and a beverage like hot tea, coffee or apple cider. With four seatings throughout the morning and early afternoon, choices were a crapshoot; only a few pies were available at a time. When it was my turn through the line, I opted for a piece of the rustic rosemary, grape and goat cheese tart from Humble and a slice of pumpkin from Graze. Both were tasty and quickly filling (my boyfriend was the lucky recipient of leftovers).

The event had a lively atmosphere. According to Miriam Grunes, REAP's Executive Director, "Guests have a blast enjoying a great meal." Grunes said it all started nine years ago when a few people got together to brainstorm an occasion that could raise money for REAP, showcase local chefs and inspire people to be creative with local products.

"We went round and round and finally someone just said, 'How about something with pie?'" she said. "We all got big smiles on our faces and knew that was it. Nine years later, we still just love this event."

Obviously Madisonians love it too; anytime there is an opportunity to support a great cause, eat delicious food and maybe enjoy the leftovers in bed, you have all of the ingredients for success in this town.

Erica Krug has Journalism and Elementary Education degrees from the University of Wisconsin. A Madison native, she teaches elementary school by day and cooks by night while writing about it on her blog, Wisconsin Fun Next Exit. Newly vegetarian, she eats an extraordinary amount of kale salad doused in lime juice, cilantro, garlic and jalapenos. She enjoys attempting to garden, hot yoga, road trips and drinking delicious hoppy and dark beers--often while listening to every single Brewers game on the radio.

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