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Pie One On 

Thanksgiving table conversation got you down? Harness the healing power of pie.

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click to enlarge ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón

For many, Thanksgiving weekend is a bit like wading into a minefield. No matter what things look like on the surface, each of us has at least one relative whom we dread seeing during the holidays—the one who just can't help but praise President Donald Trump for his admirable leadership, or the one whose accomplishments vastly outshine your own. Familial anxiety sweeps the nation this time of year, and, yes, it can be hard to deal with. Which is why pie was invented.

Once the pie starts making the rounds, you know you've made it. You've survived Uncle Hank's bizarre discourse about the universal truths laid bare within the most recent season of Ancient Aliens. You've endured passive-aggressive comments about your day job, your relationships and your distinct lack of offspring. Whatever your brand of Thanksgiving horror might be, pie is the antidote—so let's take stock of what we're looking at this year.

Through weeks of careful study, I've devised a list of pies designed to counteract some of the more common Thanksgiving social woes. Got a creepy nephew who stares at you while whispering to the ball python around his neck? There's a pie for that. White nationalist uncle? There's a pie for that. Gluten-free in a family who thinks gluten is a God-given right? Yup. There's even a pie for that. Brethren, let the healing begin.


Symptom: The Casual Nationalist
Prescription: The Cubano Meat Pie ($4.25)
As this is the most common trope among extended families, let's start here. You're doing your part, trying to be polite as Aunt Doris asks you the same questions she did last year, when a relative launches into an unprompted tirade about how immigrants are ruining America. The way you deal with this in the moment is, of course, up to you. But if you want to counteract the adverse effects of such vile hatemongering, take a trip to Fillings & Emulsions at your earliest convenience and snag this savory hand-held pie. Not only will the flavor explosion of one of the finest sandwiches on the planet make you appreciate the culinary diversity that only immigrants can give us, but, as evidenced by his multicultural staff and stellar Latin American-inspired offerings, Chef Adalberto Díaz, pictured, is a true champion of diversity. A good meat pie that supports an immigrant-friendly business will make you feel right as rain after dealing with a relative that you can't relate to.
1475 S. Main, 385-229-4228, fillingsandemulsions.com


Symptom: The Creepy Nephew
Prescription: The Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie ($3.79)
Nothing is quite as alienating as having to sit across the table from your creepy nephew—I'm guessing his name is Ethan. Granted, the kid probably just needs someone to listen while he talks about Fortnite, but there's not much you can do about it when you're at the dinner table. The problem with the creepy nephew is that he pretty much has a free pass to make others feel uncomfortable. His parents have accepted the fact that he's "just a little eccentric" which has bolstered his confidence to do weird shit at family gatherings. If he starts making obscene sculptures out of his sweet potatoes and offers to share them with you, you're the one who has to be the bigger person and de-escalate the situation. This takes grit and mental fortitude; don't let anyone else tell you differently. In order to remedy the psychological trauma of such an encounter, get yourself a rich slice of buttermilk pie from Penny Ann's Café. This is a warm hug of wholesome goodness that mixes the best elements of pie with the best elements of sugar cookies. After staring into the abyss, this is the kind of flavor combo that can make your head right again.
Multiple locations, pennyannscafe.com


Symptom:
The Unattainable Sibling
Prescription: The Toll House Pie ($6.99)
This is a tricky one. You've likely been playing second fiddle to this asshole since birth, so there are a lot of complex feelings to untangle. It might be best to simply accept that you are awesome in your own right, you'll never quite enjoy the same amount of praise and attention that this overachieving sibling has garnered—but that's perfectly OK. All the same, feelings of this magnitude can only be blunted by a whopping slice of The Dodo's Toll House Pie. It's a warm, gooey hybrid of chocolate chip cookies and pecan pie, which are two of the most comforting resources that human beings have conceived. Snag one or two slices of this excellent dessert for cases of extreme household duress.
1355 E. 2100 South, 801-486-2473, thedodorestaurant.com


Symptom:
That One Relative Who's Gluten-Free
Prescription: The Snack Crack Pie ($25.00)
No matter how awkward family bonding gets over the holidays, there's always consolation in the fact that you've got lots of food to eat. But what if you happen to have a dietary restriction? I can't imagine something worse than sitting through a slew of uncomfortable moments and not being able to eat the majority of the food in front of you because you're eating gluten-free. Hell, that alone probably sparks all kinds of unwanted attention. So, here's what you do. Order a Snack Crack pie from Heber's June Pie—they'll sometimes do pop-up shops in Salt Lake City, if the drive is too daunting. This is a pie whose crust is made out of a sticky sweet Chex mix and then loaded with creamy fillings. June Pie doesn't sell pie by the slice in most cases, but since your inconsiderate relatives didn't leave you much to eat, you have my permission to devour this pie in its entirety. Don't even bother with a plate. Just grab a fork, plop your ass in front of the TV and stream away. You're welcome.
133 N. Main, Heber, 435-503-6950, junepie.com


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