In honor of Pi day…

… I bring you Pi Week: my 8 (3 + 1 for good luck + 4) favorite/recommended pies (and their accompanying recipes)!

A pie - cheesecake - for Pi Day, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

But first a little background for the non-math geeks out there:

Pi day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant known as pi, which is used in many geometric equations and begins in numeric form as 3.1415926535 and continues indefinitely without repeating. The date March 14th was chosen to mark the first three digits of pi, 3 and 1-4, and is coincidentally also Albert Einstein’s birthday.

(For more info on pi – in colorful bold fonts, to boot – the Exploratorium has some fun tidbits.)

Pi, or π, is a Greek letter and the geometric symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. (Editor’s note: It also happens to look similar to the editing symbol for “paragraph.”) Although the number has been around since as far back as documents go, the symbol was first used in 1706 by Englishman William Jones, but only became popular after being adopted in 1737 by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler.

References to pi dot popular culture, from the nerdy gateway to a bizarre conspiracy world in “The Net” – Hollywood comeback queen Sandra Bullock’s underappreciated 1995 film – and the title reference for Yann Martel’s 2001 adventure novel “Life of Pi” (although that had nothing to do with the mathematical constant)… to Kate Bush’s 1995 song, Pi and a parody of the song “Bye Bye, Miss American Pie.”

As for the origins of pies..

Pi in the sky - or the crust - of store-bought apple pie.

The above pie is an apple pie that Susan over at the A Slice of Life blog decorated for her daughter to take to school. Ah, the memories… I still remember bringing and feasting on fruit pies in high school, where pretty much the entire student populace were either math geeks or math groupies. I loved – and still do – fruit pies. I love the sweetness, tartness and creaminess — and the ability for infinite variety and combination of each quality. And the colors, oh the brilliant colors.

My second favorite type is are savory pies, fill

And then there are the pies-of-literature, as I like to call them. These pies are the kinds written about in passing in the pages of children’s, adventure or historical novels, or even poetry. Leek and potato pasties (Redwall series), blackberry cobblers (see most British literature and The Berenstain Bears) and even blackbird pie (from the “Sing A Song of Sixpence” nursery rhyme) are among my most memorable.

But pies come in all manner of forms: sweet, savory, breakfast, vegetarian, shepherds, pizza, quiche… open-topped, lattice-crust, pasties, closed-pocket…  it doesn’t matter because whether you grab-and-go or you throw a dinner party, pie-style, they’re all tasty piles of inventive goodness, so they all qualify!

No one culture or peoples can lay claim to having “invented” the notion of piling meat and/or vegetables and fruits into bread. Pies are apparently one of those universal dishes that make perfect common sense exactly because they are so versatile, simple and tasty!

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