The Best Pies


Over the New Year’s family dinner table the discussion was “Pies.” In the old south there are two kinds of pies:

Pecan pie or jes' pie (it's just pie)  i.e. no pecans. Over time a poor translation of the Southern dialect resulted in jes' pie becoming known as “chess pie” among those who spoke in a more sophisticated vernacular.

It is kind of like a Hershey’s Candy Bar – you can have it with or without nuts.

Jes' pie may have started out as pecan pie without the nuts, but by the time it had metamorphosed from jes' pie into chess pie, it had its own recipe.

The people around the table declared that most pecan pies were too sweet or too gummy—the exception was the pecan pie of Alice Collins, who everyone declared made the best pecan pies.

Well the secret is out! I discovered Mother’s recipe for both pecan pie and chess pie. What made hers the best? It was probably the simplicity of her recipes.

Chess Pie.jpg

If you have trouble reading ingredient #3 in the pecan recipe, it is White Karo syrup. 

Her chess pie recipe starts out the same with ½ stick of butter and three eggs but only a ½ cup of sugar and no syrup.  Instead she adds a teaspoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a tablespoon of white corn meal.


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