Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Objet d’Art or Instrument of Profound Sadness: Table Talk Pies.


I was rambling about Table Talk Pies the other day, so I thought I would follow up with some more rambling.
It has long been my supposition that no mortal man has ever, in fact, consumed a Table Talk Pie. I am convinced that many markets (Stewart’s, I’m looking at you) purchase TTPs as some odd sort of decoration. Perhaps they are even a kind of convenience store talisman of good luck. A totem of convenience store good-juju.
At one of the Stewart’s shops I frequent there has long been two nomadic “Chocolate Eclair Pies” that wander amongst the various snack oases. They appear to spend their summers among the Hostess products and overwinter by the cash register. Considering the anachronistic packaging it has long been my suspicion that these two pies may be decades old. Never bought, never eaten. Have you ever eaten a TTP? Do you know anyone who has ever eaten a TTP? I haven’t. I don’t.
Tonight I decided that this personal mystery should no longer stand and I bought one of TTPs. Walking to my vehicle I was feeling a bit guilty that I hadn’t purchased both of the pies. Thinking about that single TTP sitting on the maroon Stewart’s counter all by it’s lonesome was a bit depressing.
I have long associated pie with sadness. When I was a young fellow of about 15 years I was waiting to be seated at the local Denny’s (Western Ave., Guilderland). Seated alone on a stool at the front counter I observed a woman of middle age. She was eating a single slice of neon green key lime pie. It was a remarkably sad looking piece of pie adorned with a blob of aerosol whipped cream and bits of crust crumbled on the plate.
The woman was dutifully making her way through the dessert without any apparent joy or relish. Bathed in the harsh glow of Denny’s track lighting it appeared to me a powerfully sad scene. I believe I was thrown into a state of melancholia for upwards of a week. Ever since that day I have associated low quality pie, eaten under certain circumstances, with a sense of great weltschmerz.
This evening as I drove my TTP home I began to ruminate on the subject of the sadness of pie. What if there are people who buy and consume TTPs? The thought of someone forlornly munching away, standing alone in the kitchen, at night, on a Tuesday, was almost more then I could bear.
But that is really all a lot of nonsense. I learned long ago that my bizarre conception of the human experience isn’t really applicable to other human animals. So I cheered up and unboxed my TTP.
My first observation was that the guy at the Hostess factory who is in charge of putting the precise fondant swirls on top of their cupcakes would be thrown into a fit of OCD handwringing at the sight of this pie. Those are some bush league fondant swirls.
I will say that the thing had an appealing eggy vanilla sort of stench. Also, I found the tiny pie tin downright charming.
I took a triumphant bite.
I was a bit disappointed that the pie was relatively “fresh.” Obviously not the decades old relic that I had kind of wished it would be. Nope. It is apparent that Table Talk Pies have their fans and there is likely a fairly brisk turnover at my local Stewart’s. They aren’t necessarily that bad. As I child I am sure I would have been bonkers for these pies. As it stands now they are unpleasantly cloying.
As always I am a bit sad to have put to bed one of the odd fancies that I carry around in my head. I go to bed tonight in a world that has slightly less magic and mystery. Such is life I guess.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for doing this bit of research on behalf of myself and I imagine, others, who have long passed by those TTP in the grocery store and thought, "EW who eats those?!" The lemon flavor has always particularly grossed me out.

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