Pies top off traditional community dinner
Women of the De Soto United Methodist Church have baked pies for the annual fall dinner for nearly seven decades, but Mary Plummer is confident her current recipe wasn't on the table until recently.
"Oh no," she said of the sugarless apple pies she'll bake for this year's dinner. "They didn't have any such thing back then."
Still, Plummer said it was likely many old family recipes will be represented Tuesday at the De Soto United Methodist Women's Fall Dinner. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. at the church, 8760 Kill Creek Road. The cost of the meal is $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 3 to 11, and free for children younger than 3.
The dinner is usually called the election day dinner because it is scheduled for the Tuesday following the November's second Monday.
"This will be the first year in a long time we haven't had an election for something," she said.
The dinner is a De Soto tradition that's origin has been lost in time. It stretches decades back to a church that no longer exists.
"This started back in the Christian church," Plummer said. "When it burnt, the Methodist women took it over.
"I've been around the election day dinner since I was a kid and my mother and grandmother helped with it. I don't know if Mom brought pies or not. She probably did because she made a lot of good pies."
The tradition was maintained after the De Soto Methodist Church became the De Soto United Methodist Church as part of a national merger in 1968 and the move of the church from 84th and Shawnee streets to it current site.
There may not be an election drawing people to the church this year, but the food should bring out a crowd.
"There will be turkey, meatballs and brisket and all the trimmings to go with it," Plummer said. "It's all you can eat for one price."
Also on the menu, of course, are pies. Plummer will bring her sugar-free pumpkin pie. But she said she may deviate from her sugar-free diet for a piece of Gladys Bowlin's apple pie.
"She makes the best apple pie I've ever had," Plummer said.
Bowlin said she had been recruited to bring a pie this year. Once again, she will bake a pie from a recipe she found in a newspaper years ago, substituting cinnamon for nutmeg.
"I make it in a brown paper bag," she said. " It doesn't have a top crust. It has a crumb crust."
Bowlin said she laid a stick of oleo, half a cup of flour and an equal amount of sugar on top of the pie, placed the whole thing in a paper bag, which is then fastened shut with paper clips and baked.
The closed bag keeps the flavors in while the pie bakes, but also creates something of a fire hazard, Bowlin said. She places the pie-in-a-bag on a cookie sheet in case the paper bag catches fire, which has only happened once through the years.
The pie-making gene runs in the family. Plummer and Bowlin agreed Bowlin's sister Nettie Lochner makes very good lemon and coconut cream pies. But, Plummer said it was hard to single out favorites.
"All our pie makers are excellent," she said.