"That pie ain't never seen no oven," my real-life neighbor, the one I based Abit's mother on in A Life for a Life, said to me as we sat across from each other at a restaurant. Her mouth was full of strawberry pie and whipped cream. Not a pretty sight, and a moment that stung.
My husband and I had driven her and her husband, Jack, to Asheville so he could receive an award for his fine wood carving. They'd been awfully good to us; she'd had us over for bountiful midday dinners more times than I could remember. Like Abit's mama, she could make a mean pie, but for some reason, she thought strawberry pies had to be baked. To me, the fruit tasted exhausted after suffering from 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Two other fine cooks, who are introduced in sequel, The Roads to Damascus, made that apple nut cake that Abit requested every birthday. They were kind enough to share their recipe with me, something mountain cooks weren't inclined to do. Most had a strong sense of pride in their cooking and tended to keep their recipes close to home. So thank you, Blanche and Geneva. I loved you and your cooking!