Monday, July 2, 2007

Smokehouse Pies

The Toas-tite was an early brand of sandwich cooker that was popular in the 40s and 50s. Round in design, the cooker had ridges which gave it a UFO look to the sandwich and was quite in keeping with mid-century modern design.

photo of a an original toas-tite circa 1940s (credit mere.mortal) has a fun story about Toas-tites here.

On a related note, I recently I received a letter from John in Groveville New Jersey who told me about growing up eating the tasty pies that his grandma would cook in her "Toast-rite" (I've never heard of the Toast-Rite, so given the similarity in name and the time period, I'm guessing that he's describing the Toas-tite.) which includes the secret recipe to "Smokehouse Pies"


I don't know where you got your idea, but your pie irons take me way back. My Grandmother had a similar cooking device (which I still have and use) called a Toast-Rite. Same principle as your pie iron.

So I couldn't resist myself, I bought one of your through Cabela's, along with your cookbook. Love both. I'm glad I got one.

As I said, I still use my Grandmother's Toast-Rite to make pies. My favorite, which is not in your cookbook, uses fresh blackberries. Grandma used to clean the blackberries, sprinkle a good bit of sugar on them. Then the next day she would take two pieces of bread, butter side out, and fill one with some blackberries, cook over the stove top (gas flame) and they made the best pies. I'd take them in my lunch to school during berries season, and always had kids trying to trade me something for my pie.

Grandma also did this with fresh peaches, apricots, and strawberries. Each one was great, but the blackberries were always my favorite. There was only one better, it was made with Indian Blood Peaches - we had one tree, and they were the best peaches ever. Grandma used to can 20-30 quarts each year, so we had a good supply for pies all year long.

My wife never met my Grandma, so I showed her this Toast-Rite one day and told her about the pies. Well, she went out and got some blackberries and now has to have some every berry season. She calls them smokehouse pies. Our story was simple. Today, it is hard to find bread slices that are large enough to make a fully sealed pie. There is always a small spot that leaks. One day we were making some pies, and the berry juice leaked onto the burner - started smoking - set off the smoke detector - hence Smokehouse Pies. Oh, the pies were even better after that.

Well thanks again for bringing back old memories, keep making pie irons, and we'll keep eating pies.

John T
Groveville, New Jersey"

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