Judy Garland clicked her heels to go back in time. But blueberry pie works too.

By Leah Eskin
June 08, 2021
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Jammy Blueberry Pie
Credit: Brie Passano

California taught my family abalone and chile, dim sum and kumquat, whole wheat and granola-habits we tried to smuggle out when we moved back to the Midwest. My parents fitted our dark Victorian with sliding glass doors and our backyard with a hibachi. They found granola abundant, even in our pizza-heavy college town. It was, after all, the '70s. We settled into shoveling snow and raking leaves. And sometimes, remembering California.

In Palo Alto, our home had adhered to sleek midcentury style. The dining room was filled with a vast single canvas on loan from a friend of Mom's, a singer-songwriter-painter short on storage. It showed the inside of an outsized closet-crumpled jeans, rumpled rag dolls and balled-up socks tumbling out onto our meals. Mom's answer, it seemed, to sleek.

In Iowa, we didn't need a painting to evoke clutter. Short on dim sum and chiles, we cooked, a lot. One afternoon, while Mom and I were heaping a haul of blueberries into pie shells, our heavy doorbell thunked. It was the singer-songwriter-painter. She brought her guitar and her friends. All night the adults strummed and sang. The kids sprawled at a distance, passing the Princess phone. We were, after all, teenagers.

In the morning, the rugs were thick with groggy musicians. I wondered how we'd toast enough whole wheat. Instead, Mom set the pies in the oven and sent Dad out for a gallon of vanilla. And that was breakfast: Fat slices of blueberry pie and ice cream, both oozing into the curves of Dad's ceramic bowls. Counter to our usual culture, and way better than granola.

Jammy Blueberry Pie recipe. My butter-smashing, roll-and-fold piecrust method comes from food writer and pastry chef Stella Parks. Once I tried it, I never went back.