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Happy Pi Day From North Oakland

March 14, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie from Lois The Pie Queen

Do any of y’all celebrate Pi day?  π = 3.14 = March 14th!  My high school math teachers were the first to introduce me to the holiday, which is honored by eating pie.  Sign me up!

This morning I headed down the block to Lois The Pie Queen’s place and picked up a couple slices from the wonderfully warm folks there.  Having just read my friend ChakaZ’s thoughtful, incisive piece touching on gentrification in Oakland (a process that often leads to the overthrow of pie queens, and the replacement of barbecue shacks with fancy coffeeshops), it was even more gratifying to support a Black-owned, Black-cultural business that’s been in the neighborhood — and in their family — for 50 years. And clearly not, might I add, as a gimmicky “exotic Southern food for upscale whites” kind of establishment, but as a low-key, proud-yet-humble, neighborly sort of place.

Image from Sweet Mary

In addition to the beauty above, I also got a piece of banana cream, but a bumpy ride on the bus left it unfit for open-casket photos.

Later in the day, being unable to finish both slices by myself, I would leave the leftover banana cream in its takeout pod in a big paper bag, hidden conspicuously behind a bush in Berkeley.  Fortunately, my hopes were realized: a man named Terry found and enjoyed what remained of the treat.  Unfortunately, I know that Terry found and enjoyed it because Terry also found my cell phone, which I forgot inside the paper bag.

I must have had some good karma on my side, though, because Terry seems like a really nice guy.  Tomorrow we’ve arranged a hand-off for the mobile.  I think I’ll bring him another slice from Lois’.  He was really wild about that banana cream.

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