As we drove on a sweltering summer’s day from Kansas City to Columbia, Missouri, we made a lunch stop in Blackwater, a very small town near Boonville. We hadn’t really planned anything for lunch – we had eaten a lot of round things (i.e. bagels and doughnuts) with the family in K.C., but were feeling peckish while still aways out of Columbia. I saw a sign for “Blackwater historic downtown” and for some reason decided that meant restaurants, so we took the exit and wound our way through rolling hills and cornfields until we suddenly emerged in a small, unlikely frontier-ish town studded with flags.
When we parked the car the first thing we saw was a small storefront with a handmade sign informing us of the availability of sandwiches, soup and pie. We went in. The place was full of hand sewn items: aprons, potholders, baby accoutrements and pillows, and there were two tables set with napkins and placemats. On a counter sat some plates, pitchers and a number of pies.
As it turned out, this place (called “Picket Fence”) was the home of Imogene the Pie Lady of Blackwater. When we saw the fantastic layout of pies we immediately ordered a ham and cheese sandwich to split so we would be able to order pie afterwards. The sandwich was nothing special – sort of aggressively nothing special, just white bread, ham and American cheese with a mayo packet on the side, and some potato chips – but the pie!
J got a slice of coconut creme pie, which was very good. I got the plain custard pie, which made me very happy indeed – it was exactly like the egg custards that both of our mothers made for us when we were kids, with lots of nutmeg on top, just in a pie shell that was rustic, flaky and had plenty of salt (I may have to try making this at home). We inhaled our slices in record time, along with plenty of unsweetened ice tea, and continued down I-70 feeling pleased with ourselves and with the pie lady of Blackwater.