The Last Pie

By Jill Quandt

March 28, 2022

The Last Pie

I take my grandma to the grocery store. While perusing the produce, I mention that it is my father-in-law’s birthday. She takes that to mean we are making a pie, and who am I to remind her that she doesn’t make pies anymore?

I don’t think she will be allowed in the kitchen at the memory care facility. This pie may be the last pie she ever makes.

She selects a nondescript bag of Galas for the filling. Flour, salt, shortening, and ice-water: that’s it for the crust, and she has those items already.

Back at her place, I mix the ingredients with my bare hands. “Just know, the more you mess with pastry, the worse it tastes,” grandma explains. She spoons ice water straight onto the countertop and covers it with wax paper. I sprinkle flour on top and roll out the crust. It’s crumbly and going to tear when I transfer it to the pan, so I start to ball it up.

“Kris! Let it be,” she says softly.

Kris is my mother’s name, but in choosing to let it be, I get to be more than myself as I patch this pie together. I am my mother, learning from her mother. And if I am my mother, then the nine-month-old at my feet is also me. And my arms are stretched toward her, chubby fists opening and closing expectantly.


Jill Quandt is a former middle school teacher, an emerging CNF writer, and a second-rate baker. She is an instructor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and her writing appears on Brevity’s Blog and in the Kenneth Burke Journal.  


Image by Nik courtesy of Unsplash

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