Kate Lebo, author of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter, will visit Prairie Lights on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. to read from her new book and answer questions about the illustrious art of pie making.
Pie School is both a cookbook and a love letter to the art of making pies. The book includes recipes like raspberry chiffon pie with chocolate cookie crust and peach pot pie. Lebo approaches her recipes by not only instructing on how to make seasonal fruit pies, but also by teaching readers to trust their instincts and not be afraid to step away from the recipe.
“In the first couple chapters, I offer a master recipe, both to help novices understand how the recipes work and to help experts give up the recipe all together,” said Lebo.
Throughout Pie School, Lebo includes witty essays and section introductions that ruminate on pie as a symbol of American culture, love, family and home.
“You don’t have to dig very far to realize that ‘Wait, we didn’t invent pie!’ But we did invent American pie,” said Lebo. “[American] culture takes things from other cultures and re-invents and re-experiences them and that’s … how it becomes American pie.”
Besides being distinctly American, Lebo says that pie is distinctly home-oriented and believes that the best pies are always homemade. She also thinks that the process of making pies is an important part of making a pie.
“While you’re making pie with someone in the kitchen, so much else happens that really matters … [pie is] this spark that creates an occasion for conversation,” Lebo said. “Pie is an opportunity to practice trusting yourself and using your senses not only when cooking, but also in a larger sense.”
Lebo hails from the Pacific Northwest but notes that her parents are Iowans. Pie School is her first cookbook, but she has published other pie-related works and was also a judge of the pie competition at the Iowa State Fair and baked pie at the American Gothic House.
Lebo’s reading at Prairie Lights is free and open to the public. She will arrive early to talk and answer questions before the reading.