“Who’s the best pie baker in the Flint Hills?”
That’s a highly debatable and most controversial question.
Such that a cowboy’s mom would drop the rolling pin on the kitchen cabinet, to respond with raised opinioned voice, as wiping flour from hands onto bib apron, just like her mom wore, and whose mom’s recipe always goes into her own “best” pies.
Well, despite prejudices and beliefs of cooks and pleased pie eaters, alike, the official “Best Pie Baker” is to be named in the “Pie to the People” Pie Contest, sponsored by Pioneer Bluffs, in conjunction with the Flavors of the Flint Hills Saturday, Sept. 12, in Cottonwood Falls, according to Lynn Smith, executive director of Pioneer Bluffs, Flint Hills prairie education center at Matfield Green.
Whoever thinks they have the best pie concoction, all kitchen guru far beyond the Flint Hills included, are welcomed to find out if they really do. But, there’ll be no debate when the “Celebrity Judges” cards are marked. It’ll be officially “The Best Pie in the Flint Hills” for 2015.
Yet, there are a few rules pie bakers must abide, according to Smith.
The entry fee is that competitors must also bring a second pie, even though it won’t be evaluated. But, so there’s ample for sampling by those wanting a taste of what everybody thinks is the best.
Entries can be made in all three categories: pumpkin, fruit or cream. “However, All crusts and fillings must be made completely from scratch,” emphasized Smith.
Pies are to be delivered to the Symphony in the Flint Hills Gallery, 331 Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, from 9 o’clock, until noon Saturday morning, Sept. 12.
“The cooks women, men or children are asked to please mark non-disposable pie plates, so they can be returned. We sure don’t want to misplace a family heirloom that great grandma baked her pies in,” Smith added.
Actually irrelevant to most participants, the winner of the pie baking competition gets a $50 bill.
In reality, the second pie entry will be served for dessert at the Flavors of the Flint Hills that evening, with strong possibility one might get a nibble of other entries, even the “Best Pie,” if just a tiny figure nip.
“The Flavors of the Flint Hills event is to benefit Pioneer Bluffs, and will also be at the ‘Symphony’ office, beginning at 5:30,” Smith clarified.
Guests are welcomed to ride in a horse drawn 1800s fringed-top carriage down the historic brick main street overshadowed by the world famous Chase County Courthouse. In the supper hall, all are to be greeted with music by the Flint Hills Balladeer Annie Wilson and the Tallgrass Express String Band.
Supper is to feature local Flint Hills beef with all of the appropriate trimmings produced right in the heartland with preparation by chefs from the Ad Astra, nationally acclaimed Chase County eating establishment.
Longtime Pioneer Bluffs board member Col. Dave Webb will serve as the “always- entertaining-chanting, forever-pleasantly-taunting” auctioneer for the fund raising auction featuring most unique items including a flight over the Flint Hills.
Jerry Hedrick, this year’s president of the Pioneer Bluffs Foundation and leader in all things cowboy and Western, is expected to step up., pull plush-white hat tighter, to prod more donating bids from the room-filled, typically-broad-grinning supporters.
Featured speaker for the Pioneer Bluffs fundraising supper affair is Dr. Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, executive director of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies at Kansas State University.
Professor Lynn-Sherow has published extensively on North American agricultural, Indian and environmental history, and is a founding member-director of the Flint Hills Discovery Center at Manhattan.
“The Chapman Center is committed to researching preserving and sharing history of rural Kansas, and is a major sponsor of Flavors of the Flint Hills,” Smith credited.
“Additionally, the Chapman Center has adopted the Pioneer Bluff historic archive collection. Their ongoing research and preservation of the archives will help share hidden stories of the Flint Hills,” Smith promised.
In her anticipated supper program presentation, Lynn-Sherow is to discuss the project and unveil some of the discoveries that have already been made.
Pioneer Bluffs, on the National Register of Historic Places, is the original homestead of the Rogler Ranch at Matfield Green.
“It is now a nonprofit prairie education organization with the mission to respect the land, preserve history, and engage with community,” emphasized Smith, who can be contacted for all information at 620-753-3484, or firstname.lastname@example.org.