Eating Pi

Standing in line for a favorite food item wouldn’t sit well with my plans. I’d been on my feet for most of the previous six hours. All I wanted to do was quickly buy something to eat, then sit down to enjoy it and my co-worker’s company. Thirty-minute lunchtimes pass as quickly as the flash of a camera.

Stepping into the cafeteria, I discovered there was a long line of workers waiting to be served hot food. Only a few people were around the cold bar making salads. Salads always satisfied me, so I turned to pick up a bowl and make one for myself.

Barb, my coworker, nudged me with her elbow and hissed, “They’re serving shepherd’s pie!” In unison we turned to join the line. As we waited, Barb commented, Shepherd’s pie is supposed to have a spring mix of vegetables in it and not sauerkraut. The hospital just calls this meal, ‘potato-sauerkraut casserole’.”

Shrugging I confessed, “I prefer the kraut. Switching the ingredients should automatically require the dish to have a different name. Maybe it should be called, German shepherd’s pie.” A mental picture of a happy, tongue-lolling German Shepherd suddenly popped into my mind.

Barb grimaced in response to my comment as she reached for a dish handed to her by the cafeteria worker. It was heavily laden with mashed potato-topped sauerkraut with a satisfying bottom layer of creamy ground beef.

Whatever name we gave this dish, it was so well liked at the hospital that a good number of employees went home and made it for their families. I was one of them. My family loved the tasty combination of potato, kraut and meat as much as I did.

With Tammie spending her “Shelter in Place” time with me, we like to discuss meals we want to make. One night her phone screen was on Pinterest recipes when she excitedly suggested, “We should make shepherd’s pie, or maybe cottage pie!”

As in the past, a mental picture of a happy, tongue-lolling German shepherd suddenly popped into my mind. I chuckled, “You mean the German shepherd pie?”

Still reading the recipe on screen, Tammie absent-mindedly nodded.

I questioned, “What is the difference between Shepherd’s pie and cottage pie?”

Putting down her phone, Tammie answered, “Shepherd’s pie is supposedly made with lamb. Cottage pies have beef at the bottom. Otherwise they are both basically made the same.” With a twinkle in her eye Tammie suggested, “If replacing the spring mix of vegetables with sauerkraut makes you call a cottage pie German shepherd pie, then, we could make a dish called sailor’s pie with salmon on the bottom!”

While growing up, my family’s favorite meal on Fridays was salmon loaf, peas and mashed potatoes. My mouth watered as I pictured these ingredients put all together into one dish. Pure heaven!

When most people hear the word pie, they instantly think of fruit pies, myself included. The fact of the matter is that there are many savory pie recipes. Beside cottage pie and all its variations, there are also pot pies which are gravy and vegetable heavens where tender bits of chicken, beef or ham like to loiter. Quiche is another savory pie, and it isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Paired with a salad, a quiche makes a grand meal anytime of the day.

Pi is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet and is the irrational mathematical representation for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Every March 14th, innovative math teachers serve fruit pies to their students because 3.14 is the first three numbers in the value of Pi.

What does all this talk about eating delicious pies have to do with Pi? Simply this, by eating too much, our bellies will change in circumference and diameter. That is a mathematical fact.







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