August 28, 2011

Pedaling for Pie

I would argue that food plays a big role in keeping this marriage healthy.

Here is why: it turns out that I am much more open to doing things out of my norm if I know I will be rewarded with good food.

It also turns out that disaster can sometimes be averted with good food.

Take last summer for example. Zach (an avid biker) wanted me to go biking with him. I wasn't completely opposed, but I wasn't all that excited either. But I had agreed. Zach was a little ambitious in the route planning and picked a 20 mile route, maybe a little much for a non-biker. There were rain drops, there was complaining, and there was a bee sting to the ear which led to tears and a lot more complaining. But we are still married today because in the middle of the route, unbeknownst to Zach, we’d come across the Barrio in St Paul. I demanded we stop; Zach smartly obliged. I ate my carnitas taco, had a Trinity margarita, and immediately felt equilibrium return.

Yesterday, we decided to venture to Lanesboro for another biking expedition. Since last summer, we have learned that 15 miles is my max, but that 12 really is more ideal. And we know how important food is to the mix now. So we picked Lanesboro (and our biking route once there) based on Aroma Pie Shoppe.

I’m no fool. I smell an opportunity when there is one, particularly when it relates to food.

And Zach is no fool either. He knows that food helps keep the peace.

So, we packed up the bikes yesterday morning and hit the road full from chocolate chip pancakes. But for extra insurance, we stopped at Wise Acre for sandwiches to eat on the road (and yes, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that yesterday marked 3 days in a row of Wise Acre sandwiches!).  

It was truly a perfectly executed plan. Two and a half hours after we left, we arrived in Lanesboro and were hungry. We whipped out the sandwiches and were fed and full before there were any blood sugar drops and associated bouts of snapiness.

We pedaled away on our bikes with me knowing I’d shortly be rewarded with pie. Not any old pie mind you—pie from Aroma Pie Shoppe.

I did my research ahead of time—that’s how I found Aroma Pie Shoppe. This place is right on the bike trail (can’t be missed) in the little town of Whalan, where 70 people live.

This little gem completely met expectations. The shop was actually a little house. It had a charming sign listing that day’s flavors. It had homemade pies of all sorts lined up on the counter. It had the cream pies cooling in the deli case. It had ice cream for a la mode-ness. It had a friendly staff. It had lace tablecloths—the kind you’d only ever want to see in a pie shop. And it had delicious pie.

The minute I saw the Blubarb Pie on the board, I knew that was what I was getting. I had heard good things about that pie.

It was the perfect fruit pie: rhubarb for tartness, blueberries for sweetness, not too runny but not dry, light and flaky crust that tasted homemade. And two big scoops of vanilla ice cream to make it go down even easier.

Zach had the Chocolate Chunk Pie that I would argue was a little deceiving. The base was full of buttery and sugary caramel, with chocolate chips studding it. It was beyond sweet. My dad would love it.

That slice of pie was just what I needed to feel like the trip was a worthwhile success (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating…a bit…I think I would have felt that way anyway…maybe…). That slice of pie was also just what I needed to motivate myself to get back on the bike and go back the 6 miles we had traveled. The healthy feeling you get by biking through nature quickly dissipates when you polish off a big slice of pie a la mode.

Pedaling and pie is a solid formula for this duo. J

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