Amplified Test 3 – The Secret History of Indiana Pie

Sugar Cream Pie by Sarah Strierch.Boston Cream Pie may have found its way into our shared dessert lexicon, but what about Hoosier Cream pie? Or Indiana Persimmon Pie? News of these regional treats had never reached me before I heard this lecture by pastry chef Paula Haney. Haney has cultivated a devoted following in Chicago with her perfect pies – lemon chess; pork, sage and apple; lattice topped blueberry – since founding Hoosier Mama Pie Company in 2005.  Now, Haney unveils the secret history of Indiana pies,  from the Amish inspired “desperation pies” of her Indianapolis youth, to pies made from exotic native fruits like the wild American persimmon, paw paw, and custard apple.

In this excerpt, Haney goes into the delicious history the sugar cream or Hoosier Cream pie, Indiana’s official state pie as of 2009. (According to Haney, at the time of this lecture there was heated debate between the sugar cream camp and the persimmon custard camp.)

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If you want a taste of Indiana’s official pie, Hoosier Mama carries it at their Chicago shop. Or, you can go on a pie pilgrimage and follow the Hoosier Pie Trail! Better yet, make your own, using a recipe like this one from Turkey Creek Lane.

Click here to hear the rest of Haney’s talk, including a section about the South Side’s endangered pie species, the bean pie. Sponsored by Chicago Culinary Historians, and recorded by Chicago Amplified, a program of Chicago Public Media.

Amplified Test 2 – Mavis Staples

Soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples has an album in the works with another Chicago home town hero, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. The two performed together at Lollapalooza; Staples later stopped by the station for a surprising duet with WBEZ’s Rob Wildeboer. (Did anyone else know he could tickle the ivories like that?!)

If you’re hankering for more Mavis before her new album comes out, check out this excellent conversation she had in 2008 with young people from the Chicago Freedom School.

Staples describes how in her youth there was an uneasy relationship between gospel and R & B; gospel artists who “crossed over” to singing the blues for a more secular, mainstream audience often felt the wrath of their churchgoing brethren.  (A subject explored in depth in another great Amplified event, Sinners in the Choir: The Black Church and the Devil’s Music.) Here, Staples describes her introduction to secular music during the summers she spent with family in Greenwood, Mississippi. It seduced her, but she never abandoned her gospel roots.

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Click here for Mavis Staples’ full talk with the Chicago Freedom School. The event was held at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and was recorded by Chicago Amplified, a program of Chicago Public Media.

Featured music:

“O Day” by Bessie Jones, from “The Alan Lomax Collection: Southern Journey, Vol. 1 – Voices from the American South.”

“Since I Fell For You” by Nina Simone, from “The Soul of Nina Simone.”

Editor’s Note: The version of “Since I Fell For You” that Mavis Staples likely heard as a child in Mississippi was the 1947 version released by Annie Laurie with Paul Gayten and His Trio, which according to Wikipedia eventually reached #3 on the “Race Records” charts and #20 on the pop charts. I used the Nina Simone version from 1967 because I liked how it matched the cadence of Staples’ rendition during her talk. You can find the Annie Laurie version on iTunes, although I don’t think I can post it here in its entirety because of copyright issues.