What could be better than a day in the kitchen with Mama Grenko learning her homemade apple pie recipe? My good friend Toni’s mom-who is quite the feisty spit fire at age 84-took a few of us under her mountain mama wing, to teach us the ropes of pie making. It was the perfect compliment to a blustery fall day as a storm blew in, and golden leaves danced in the wind.

My friends Beth and Bryan were there. Bryan is already a master pie maker. Bryan cut his teeth on pie making. Apparently he made pies with his grandmother, and shared a couple of her secrets.   It was extraordinary to watch his manly-man hands, delicately lift the pie dough, and place it-ever so gently-into the pie plate. Compare that to my effort which left ragged edges and holes in the bottom, culminating in a much needed do over! During my second attempt at rolling out my dough and placing it back into the pie plate, I stopped breathing. My friends were laughing and yelling, "Sheri breathe, breathe!" It is completely understandable as my grandmothers Goddess bless them, had other talents. When it came to pies and cakes, they went to the bakery! It is clear to see Bryan has the Midas pie touch and is already an artful master.

What is Mama Grenko’s secret?  It is all in the crust! Butter, butter, butter. After learning how to make the flakiest crust this side of the Great Divide, I am now sold on homemade.  Watching golden brown pie, come out of the oven with steam rising out of the slits I placed in the top, made my mouth water. I won’t even mention the scent of warm apples and cinnamon that wafted through the house.  Mama Grenko says, "The way to compensate for the butter is to make fewer pies!" I don’t think that will be happening any time soon, I’ll risk the pounds. Oooh la, la.

Last night I volunteered for the Wyly Community Arts Center. They were having their annual fund raiser. The theme was passion. Kind of perfect for where I am right now and the book concept.  They raised about $25,000.00 by auctioning off days with people who were passionate about what they did in the world-aka who were living their dreams-sound familiar? It was lovely to see the community come in to support a fabulous community based non-profit.

Contribute: What’s your favorite fall recipe?