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Culture » Book Talk


They made it mean something, the choice between cake and pie. Whoever thought as children that the world would grow up cruel enough to pit



They made it mean something, the choice between cake and pie. Whoever thought as children that the world would grow up cruel enough to pit frosting against filling? History tells us the seeds of revolution came from one too many times hearing, "The proof of the pudding is in the crust." Maybe the kind of place where they do things like write letters, on actual paper, and drink tea understands pudding with crust, but we make no attempt to understand it here.

The pie people called the cake people "gimmicky." Too much precedence placed on sugar flowers and fancy writing and those little plastic dinosaurs and clowns and princesses that make their way to the center of most celebrations, only to be rescued from sweet sludge, licked clean, and displayed like precious mementos along a child's favorite shelf. People who eat cake suffer from arrested development. The cake people called the pie people old-fashioned, equating a fondness for the much-maligned crust with other dubious things, like leaving your Christmas decorations up past Valentine's Day and playing the state lottery.

People born of pie parents usually, after a brief experimental period in college where they swore by tarts, chose pie. People with cake parents sometimes dabbled with tarts, and if they backpacked through Europe the summer before their senior year, flirted with a crème brulee or a French macaron, but, as it is with most people, you always find your way back. The people who preferred pie began accusing the cake people of something heinous. The cake people retaliated with an insult unfit to print. The cake people organized a rally. The pie people came with their signs. The cake people threw pie, the pie people threw cake until the sidewalks resembled something dangerously foreign, like tiramisu.

The cake people began to pick up the pieces of smashed pie and, when no pie people were looking, snuck a bite of blueberry or pumpkin or even mincemeat. Of course the pie people stole a lick of frosting and some suspiciously delicious devil's food. When the rally was over, every pie person had become a cake person. Each cake person, intrigued by lemon meringue, pledged their loyalty to pie.

The next day, the once-pie-people-now-cake-people, newly fueled by sugar roses, arranged a rally. The once-cake-people-now-pie-people came with their signs. The once-cake-people-now-pie-people threw cake, the once pie-people-now-cake-people threw pie, until the sidewalks began to resemble something dangerous.

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