I'm going to review this place more formally in a few weeks, but last night, I was so charmed by Cutie Pies that I can't help telling you a little bit right now.
"I saved 500 pie recipes from Mama," explained Jaynie Buckingham, donned in pink and tinsel. If the city of Austin and the city of Birmingham, Alabama had a baby, it would be Jaynie. She's a mascot for keep-Austin-weird, finding any excuse to wear tiaras and feather boas, as well as a pedigreed Southern storyteller, chatting you up in a musical country drawl. Her mama? Betty Lou.
"Mama made pie all the time, but so did my aunts and everybody else," said Jaynie, flipping through a bound stack of typed, yellowed recipe pages. I imagine "everybody else" as Betty Lou's friends and admirers, who bustled in and out of Jaynie's house growing up. There are names next to each recipe in Jaynie's book, so that the titles read: "COCONUT CREAM - ZULA JOHNSON" and "CHOCOLATE PECAN - MAMA JUNE."
Jaynie is a military brat, originally from the South, then moving to Germany. She has a picture of her father and his fighter plane hanging on the wall, and told me last night about him getting shot down over Iwo Jima. Which he survived.
"Daddy's best friend came and got him," she clarified, and while I believe this meant that he radioed for help and his friend happened to be dispatched, I couldn't help but grin at this image, like getting rescued from a near-fatal WWII mission was just one of those things. You called your buddy.
"I moved back to Austin in sixth grade when Daddy got stationed at Bergstrom, and have pretty much been an Austin girl ever since," said Jaynie, who is also a classically-trained opera singer. I begged her to sing for us, but her daughter gave me wide eyes over the counter, indicating that this would actually happen if we let it.
I'm going back to Cutie Pie's next week, not only because their pies are incredible (more on that next post), but also because it's literally three blocks away from my house. Cutie Pies is on Burnet Road, and if you remember my whining last week about missing Hyde Park, I'm happy to report that I've discovered my first character here in Allandale. Her name is Jaynie, and when I go back, I am seriously bringing my video camera and encouraging her to sing for us. Wouldn't that be grand?
PS, if you're not into pie, Jaynie makes cookies too:
(If it looks like those cookies are roughly half the size of the plate, that's because they are.)
More pie review to come, but if you're drooling already, three words Reader: Heath Bar Pie. Here are three more words: Praise the Lord. That's what you will be saying when you eat it. It's the one pictured at the very top.