Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Moral Quandry

Way back in July, my buddy Julia Oh and I went on an a U-Pick frenzy. Most of the bounty was put up in the form of preserves, but a smaller amount was selected for one specific purpose, to win victory in this year's pie contest at work. In fact, I will freely admit on this blog that I was picking the berries that were to be later frozen, vacuum sealed and labeled "pie contest", I was rehearsing my acceptance speech in my head:

"Wow. WOW! I wasn't sure I would ever be up here, accepting this. I have so many people to thank for this victory, especially Dawn Weeman, who, in my first year here at W+k, singled out my cranberry nut pie as an underbaked failure. Dawn, I have spent the last 730 days training for this moment etc...etc..."

But it's probably bad luck to start planning your acceptance speech in July. Especially for something as arbitrary as a pie contest judged by your work peers. This is the reality of the annual Wieden & Kennedy Pie Contest. It is why a cheesecake won last year. It is why this year's "wildcard" category has something to do with Voodoo Doughnuts. So, I started thinking about this. I have one, and only one, bag of vacuum sealed frozen blueberries, handpicked out in Oregon City, in my possession. Do I really want to offer them as a sacrifice to the remote possibility that my pie happens to defy the odds? Blueberry is my favorite pie flavor. And there is this one bag. And the judging is arbitrary. And Thanksgiving is coming. And what? I'm going to make my favorite pie and not even get the opportunity to enjoy it? Is it better to be selfish about your precious fruit or passive-aggressively sacrifice something important to you for the sake of winning? What does one do?

So, though still "on the fence," I've pretty much decided to save the blueberries for Thanksgiving and go forth with a more-or-less classic apple pie. And, there will be a wild card of my own: Kathleen Williams' Lemon Butter Crunch Chiffon Pie, which, though no less worthy than my precious blueberries, will inevitably be the sacrificial lamb.

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