On a recent trip through Frontier’s home state of Iowa, we saw a sign that pointed us to “The American Gothic House.” We’re fans of the painter Grant Wood, who lived and worked in Iowa, so the actual house in his most famous painting, American Gothic, is something we’d always meant to see.
So we followed the signs into Eldon, Iowa.
It was a beautiful summer day, and there were a few people milling around as we drove up. The house appeared in front of us, quite unassumingly, in spite of its international fame.
As we walked toward the house, it seemed strange and a bit surreal to be able to get so close to such an iconic structure. We were surprised at how tiny it is.
You can walk right up onto the porch.
And right up to the lace-curtained window.
A peek inside the screen door revealed…
All kinds of pie. Now it really did seem like a dream.
A young girl appeared, and we asked if the pie was for sale. “Yes!” she said, and started telling us the story of who lives in the house, and why pie’s for sale there.
It turns out Beth Howard is the pie maker, and she rents the house. Who knew such a thing was even possible? We enjoyed our pie and a nice chat with our hostess, Beth’s niece. Then as we were leaving, we met Beth herself.
As you can see from what’s happening in the background of the photo above, visitors are encouraged to dress up and take photos in front of the house.
Beth’s story is quite fascinating. As her blog profile states:
Beth Howard is a writer, pie baker and pie evangelist.
Her popular blog, The World Needs More Pie, chronicles her travels and adventures in pie, and explores how pie helps her heal from the unexpected death of her 43-year-old husband.
She learned how to make pie at age 17, when she got caught stealing apples from the orchard of a retired pastry chef. She has baked pies for celebrities in Malibu, she’s been a pie judge at the National Pie Championships and at the Iowa State Fair, and she’s taught pie baking to groups of all ages.
She lives in the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa, where she sells pie at her Pitchfork Pie Stand. Her memoir “Making Piece: Love, Loss and the Healing Power of Pie” will be published April 2012. She is developing a TV series about, what else, pie.
Check out Beth’s website The World Needs More Pie for more about her Pitchfork Pie Stand, her book, and all things pie!
In honor of Beth, who told us the spice she uses the most is cinnamon –
Here’s our selection of pie recipes for you to try.
Please tell us about the pie in your life!