Palmer restaurant makes 300+ mini pies for National Pi Day
March 14 is nationally recognized as Pi Day to celebrate the mathematical phenomenon – but for many Alaskans, it’s become a day to indulge in pie.
Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, which creates an infinite number beginning with 3.14.
The Palmer Downtown Deli had a tall order to fill on Thursday.
“I’m going to do peach to begin with. Then cherry, I think we'll do a coconut cream and a chocolate cream as well,” said Jill McCauley.
She was drafted from her usual catering duties to make a plethora of pastries: 300 mini pies.
“People have already started calling and asking for us to pull aside little pies so they can come grab them after work,” she said.
Sweet pies weren’t the only items on the menu.
“We have chicken pot pie and chili pot pie. Our coffee is banana cream pie, our Italian soda special is apple pie. There’s a bit of a theme,” said owner Kevin Brown.
He’s a self-described math geek and jumped at the chance to add his love of food into the equation.
“People like an excuse to be silly. It’s like on May 4, we have Star Wars Day; May the Fourth Be With You," Brown said. "This is Star Wars Day for math geeks and all of their friends who get to benefit with tasty, tasty pie.”
Congress designated March 14 as Pi Day in 2009. House Resolution 224 “encourages schools and educators to observe the day with appropriate activities that teach students about pi and engage them about the study of mathematics.”
Math isn’t everyone’s best subject, however. Jill spent some time trying to determine how many peaches per tin make the perfect pie.
“Kevin does the math for me. I don’t speak the language of math, thank you very much,” she laughed. “I think it’s going to be like, one and a half peaches per tart.”
The price for these pies?
“Three dollars and 14 cents, of course,” Brown said.
Customers are excited to see more restaurants getting into the sugary spirit. Barbara Hunt runs the Facebook page Palmer Alaska Buzz and put up a list of all the eateries and the types of pie they were serving.
Turkey Red had coconut cream and peanut butter mousse while Non-Essentials was using Bella Hammond’s blueberry pie recipe.
“It’s one of those tiny little traditions we can kind of help create for our town,” Hunt said.
Of course the odds were good we found a math teacher celebrating too.
“My kids were really excited about celebrating Pi and they got pretty made it was during spring break," said Tabitha Chartraw, a math teacher at Eagle River Christian School. "They’re obsessed with the number pi. They try to memorize past ten digits.”
She found just the right time to dig into her dessert.
“It’s 3:14, it's right now! I’m excited,” she ate a spoonful of the peanut butter cream pie. “This is really good!”
While pi may be never-ending, it didn’t take long for Chartraw to reach the bottom of the tin.
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