To say my family is Hobbesian over food would be a lie.
Mainly because Hobbes’ whole “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” philosophy barely touches on the gladiatorial battles we have over delicious food.
And pie territory? There be dragons. Abandon hope all ye who enter.
Over the years my family developed an extensive list of caveats and tenuous rules that roped us together and lifted us barely above pie-anarchy. That’s why we all still have our fingers, hands and arms!
We also developed deliciously devious ways of getting more pie.
And because I like you? I will share my family’s patented pie-weasel-fu with you.
Fees: Were you the one to buy the pie? You should be compensated. Did you spend valuable money on gas to bring pie home? You should be compensated. Were you the one to cut the pie up? Labour is a valuable. You should be compensated. Did you in any way contribute to the pie existing? Compensation.
You are a worthy individual. Your time is valuable. Don’t ever forget that. What better way to be compensated than by getting a larger slice of the pie?
The nice thing about fees is they can be expanded to other delicious food items. One for you. Two for me. One for you. Two for me. That’s the jellybean sorting fee.
Fees don’t even have to be shown. Be like banks, government and business. Keep these fees hidden. Otherwise the peasants rebel.
Constant Vigilance: If pie enters the household and you’re snoozing? Don’t whine when you don’t get a slice. If you aren’t the pie-bringer, stay on your game. Hint: when scouting for pie, double-up and collect brownie points by “helping” to unpack and put away groceries.
Geometry: Like any geek will tell you, pi and pie go hand in, especially on March 14th. So it should be no surprise that math plays an important part in getting more pie.
“Ideally” (and I use that term loosely) pie would be divided into perfectly equal shares. Anyone who has ever cut pie knows this is a utopian dream. Use this to your advantage. Position yourself as the pie cutter and server. Angles can be shifted, swayed and bent to your will.
And remember basic geometry:
If the biggest piece of pie has already been snagged, its equal is directly opposite of the original piece. Don’t let other people catch on to this – otherwise they’ll start pulling the same trick. So I stress the importance of shifting the remaining pieces around to close in the gap once you’ve gotten out your equi-pie-piece.
Diffusion: Pie innards are tricky. They shift, they run. So when you take out your slice? Scoop out some of the innards from the neighbouring pieces for more pie-ness.
Unless you go overboard and leave a hollowed shell of crust behind, science will have your back with a little thing called “diffusion.” Pie filling will re-distribute evenly across the remaining pieces and no one will be the wiser. (Note: does not work well with more solid forms of pie)
Erosion: You know how there’s always that one person who is all “Oh I’m just stuffed. I just can’t eat my piece of pie right now?” They are undeserving of pie. Unfortunately, good dinner manners generally dictate that you cannot just scream this at them, grab their piece and run.
But if their piece of pie is still waiting in the fridge after a 12 hour cooling off period? They are extra-undeserving of pie.
One option is to just go ahead and eat the piece. If they complain, feign innocence and say “Oh, I thought that you had gotten your piece already. Sorry!“
Or go the more sneaky route — after all, a scalpel is better than a sledgehammer. And by scalpel, I mean fork. And by fork I mean with each walk past the fridge, slowly whittle away at the pie so that by the time the Undeserving One finally does return to eat their piece? It’s just a sad little skinny slice that they still don’t deserve.
After 24 hours? All bets are off.
Don’t panic. Use saliva. Sometimes sleight of hand and geometry don’t work. Sometimes there is one last piece of pie, and you and your mortal enemy (or father) are facing off against each other. You have to act quick.The trick to winning at this point is to do something gross enough to the pie that your nemesis doesn’t want it anymore – but not so gross that you yourself no longer want to consume the delicious pie.
My brother patented the “thumb in pie” move early on. Hopefully that is the maximum level you will have to go to stop someone from claiming the final piece. It didn’t work in my family for long. I think that has something to do with my family not having any shame.
If your family is like mine, then the next step (aside from therapy) in pie-war-escalation is saliva. Sometimes the threat of a crust-licking is enough. I’m a fan of the classic “lick your hand and then hover your palm one inch away from the flakey-goodness” move. If the angles are right, sometimes you can fake it.
If the other person is willing to deal with your saliva? Well. I’ve never reached that point. I’m just too good at winning pie. Also? I’m a grown up now. I can buy and eat my own pie whenever the heck I want to. That’s why I’m awesome.
Interested in learning more about pie? Of course you are! For further reading, I suggest these excellent pie resources: