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If you were up and at ’em early this morning, perhaps you caught Peace Through Pie‘s inimitable Founder and Executive Director Luanne Stovall and Connally High School culinary arts student Datreon Taylor on KVUE’s Weekend Daybreak. Luanne and Datreon so eloquently spoke about how we can all help create a new culinary tradition for the MLK Holiday by hosting a pie social.

And, of course, there was PIE!

Check out the interview! Please share the link!  

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Courtesy: Food Network

My mother is an amazing cook, but sadly I did not inherit the same abilities. I did, however pick up a sweet tooth, and from there sprung my inevitable need to make baked goods.

I started by making cakes. It was easy enough. All I had to do was gather the ingredients, mix them together in a bowl, pop it in the oven, and wait for it to rise.

I needed a challenge though, and I was drawn to pie. My culture is not one to make sweet pies or much of any dessert. That’s why during every holiday my mother made sure that the one American food she had on the table was apple pie. It was the one dish she fell in love with after moving to this country, and I can’t remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas when I didn’t have it for dessert.

For my first pie story, I have chosen to pay tribute to my mother by making her an apple pie. Growing up, I experienced my Nigerian heritage head-on by watching my mother cook several of our traditional dishes for dinner. In fact, I learned most of the language by taking commands from my parents when they asked me to bring certain ingredients for their stews and soups. One of my mother’s favorite foods to make was meat pie. She would make them by the dozens, and it would last weeks in our house as a staple for most of our meals. Even now, I can still picture the huge ball of dough she would knead in order to make each individual pie.

The days leading up to the pie have been filled with trepidation. I first had to find a simple apple pie recipe online that I didn’t find too intimidating. Food Network to the rescue! A recipe by Carol Chudleigh featured on FoodNation With Bobby Flay did the trick. I have to say that the crust is the hardest part about making a pie. It is the foundation of the pastry. The crust has to be both strong enough to hold the contents of pie but flaky enough to keep people coming back for more. The creation of the crust is a multi-step process that involves fancy mixing terms like cut and moistened. Even with all these obstacles, I gathered all my ingredients and jumped head first into my first pie!


Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Apple Filling:

  • 5 Northern Spy apples
  • 3/4 cup fine sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Click here to see Carol Chudleigh and Bobby Flay make the pie.  

I followed the recipe to the best of my abilities, but the end result fell flat of my expectations of true pie greatness. My dough was a little too mushy before I baked it, so it was hard to get a good mold on the pie pan. This caused my crust to have a much softer texture that broke apart too easily as it rose. In short, my pie had some major flaws, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

The filling was delicious, which is what got my mother to keep eating once she got past the grittiness of the crust. Upon tasting it she looked over to me and said, “You did good honey, but next time use more flour in crust.” I smiled at her and asked how she made her meat pie crust so tasty. She told me it was years of practice and tweaking her original recipe.  This made a lot of sense to me because if you’re passionate about something you follow through with it.

Baking is a lot like math in that you can do all the right things and still get the answer wrong. After finishing our last bites of my first peace pie, my mother looked over to me with admiration in her eyes and said, “Let me help you with the next one.” It felt good to know that she was proud of me, not only because I had made my first pie, but because I was baking again. We could now spend time together in the kitchen doing something we both loved.  It was in that moment that I realized that I had truly made a peace pie.

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We are excited to present Peace Through Pie‘s program at the Anti-Defamation League Summer Educators’ Institute on June 10th.

Peace Through Pie is for everyone! This conference offers a great opportunity to invite more local schools to partner with us for their No Place For Hate activities.

The purpose of Peace Through Pie is to celebrate diversity though the culinary arts.

Pie-o-neers For Peace is our program for youth and schools that was piloted in 2012. Students are encouraged to explore their culinary and cultural heritage and showcase their skills and talents with peers, family, and the community.  The workshop features an overview of the program with testimonials by the inaugural leaders from John B. Connally and William B.Travis High Schools.

Participants include:  Luanne Stovall, Peace Through Pie Founder; Daniel Garcia, Connally High School Principal; Chef Mike Erickson, Connally High School Culinary Arts Instructor; Chef Rob McDonald, Travis High School Culinary Arts Instructor, Leni Gillespie, Travis High School Lifetime Nutrition and Wellness Instructor.

If you would like to attend, you can register at: Austin Summer Educators’ Institute

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By Amanda Grindele When moving into a new home, one of the most important factors people look at after price and size is the quality of the neighborhood. I once had a new neighbor tell me that the deciding factor when she chose her new home was that every time she came by to look at it there were kids playing outside all up and down the street. Small things like a wave and a smile on a morning walk or feeling comfortable asking to borrow a half-cup of sugar from your neighbor in a crunch can take a neighborhood from just feeling like a group of houses to feeling like a community of friends. Here are six tips and ideas we’ve come up with to strengthen your community! 1)     The most obvious way to bring people together is to have community events. Block parties provide a fun environment where food is shared, kids can play and everyone is having a good time! Other ideas include holiday parties, mothers’ night outs, poker nights or anything else that will get people out of their homes and interacting with one another. People will be building relationships that have a positive impact on the community without even realizing it. 2)     Utilize neighborhood associations to adopt a community philanthropy or tackle a project. When people have a common goal to work towards it naturally unites them. This gives your neighborhood a “team” aspect while also providing the opportunity for members to give back.  3)    Take your neighborhood watch program one step further and create a “neighborhood help program.” Make it a place where people can go to share keys in case of an emergency, report a lost or found pet, or just to borrow tools. Having a declared program for these types of things will make people more likely to do them and helps to build trust between neighbors.  4)     More and more, it is becoming essential for communities to have an interactive online presence. Have a website with basic neighborhood information, a digital newsletter, pictures of events, etc. and maybe even link this to a Facebook and a Twitter page. This is also a great place to organize contests, group bike rides or that neighborhood help program we mentioned earlier! 5)     Simply encourage members of your community to spend more time in the front yard.  So often we lock ourselves inside on beautiful days where a little picnic or some yard work might be just what the doctor ordered. If everyone just spent a little time out front on the weekends, the amount of interaction would increase and there would be sense of camaraderie felt in the neighborhood by being at home rather than at work or school. 6)     Finally, and this is our favorite, host a pie social, or any type of dinner or dessert party! When people join together to share food and conversation, relationships are built and significant topics can be discussed. The pie can be a symbol of unity and wholesomeness, but if it’s frozen yogurt you prefer, that works too. Have a weekly dinner party hosted by someone new each week. This gives neighbors a chance to invite one another into their homes and really get to know one another! We hope we’ve helped. May your every Mrs. Cleaver type desire for the ideal suburbia come true! Have a question, comment or a story to share? Email!

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Executive pastry chef, Michael Laiskonis wrote a great article in The Atlantic about the role of sweets in our lives that has a very interesting and touching section about a New York restaurant’s re-imagining of tres leches, a traditional Mexican dessert. Importantly, the article highlights one man’s fond memories of not just eating tres leches, but of traveling to Mexico to visit his grandmother, of going with her to the bakery, and of eating it in her kitchen. This is a great warm-up in getting people to think about their own pie stories and it would be an interesting launch to discussing the connection between food and emotion. Click here to link to the article.    

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Photo: Calling all Houston area Pie-o-neers... Today’s Peace Through Pie Social at ECO Market Cafe is sure to deliver some tough choices for the judges panel. But the decision to partner with Ecotone to celebrate peace and the legacy of Dr. King was easy as pie. We are blessed to have partners like award-winning Chef Tarsha Gary who literally provides food for thought. With a recipe for success on changing the way children eat, she is Pie-O-neering the way communities come together and helping others write their own Recipes for Peace. Says Crystal Brown-Tatum, President of Crystal Clear Communications, “In just a few years, [Gary] has managed to carve an admirable niche in the Houston catering market as well as being an advocate for bringing healthy foods to those who are underserved. Few Chefs are as visible in the community as she is.” Chef Gary also is a successful mentor and teacher via her “Community Kids Cook w/Chef Tarsha” Summer Cooking Camp. Ecotone’s Community Mission Facilitate an ecologically sustainable urban agricultural system whereby a community-based infrastructure is established, collectively tended and matures to thrive independently via inter-generational activity, and imparts tangible life skill sets.  Provide a direct resource to the value of growing one’s own food and learning to prepare healthful meals from that food production ultimately improving one’s health profile as it relates to nutrition.  Affect sustainable community development, positive imaging and ownership that fosters “whole family” education and supports entrepreneurial aspirations.

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packshot We invite you to watch A Place at the Table, a documentary film about the economic, social, and cultural impact of food insecurity in our nation. Weaving stories of hardship faced by real people with insights from experts and volunteers, the film presents struggles and offers solutions. Filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush shed light on a serious crisis and remind us that we are the ones who can set the table for change. The film will be released in theaters, on iTunes, and on demand March 1. We look forward to your thoughts and participation in engaging conversations about this topic. Leave a comment to tell us what you think. Also, if you are interested in joining a round table discussion, we will save a place at table for you! For more information, please contact

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This morning, I had the fortune of watching a few toddlers exchange what I assume were their first Valentine cards. They raced across the playground to make a special delivery of handmade cards. It was a simple and brief encounter among young friends yet meaningful for both the givers and recipients. Reactions to Valentine’s Day differ but it’s hard to deny the emotional boost when someone takes the time to remind you that you’re loved. Or the powerful lift you get from giving and showing gratitude toward others. It is important to remember that strong relationships yield benefits that no box of candy or bouquet of flowers ever could. Instead of relying on pre-printed generic messages, let thine own heart be true. Give love, share your feelings, and model kindness to those you encounter. We could all use a little more conversation and a little more empathy.

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We would like to thank the North Shoal Creek Neighborhood News for their coverage of Peace Through Pie in the Winter 2013 Newsletter. We are thrilled to partner with many neighborhood associations and look forward to celebrating in communities across the country.

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LORAIN, OHIO…. With inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King’s message of unity and equality, Lorain Community School and Austin, Texas-based nonprofit, Peace Through Pie (PTP), aim to rekindle the tradition of Pie Socials as a vehicle to continue MLK’s dream.

Local charter school math teacher, Stephen Kerney, held his first PTP social with 60 fifth and sixth graders last year complete with pie from local bakery MamaJos to apply the lessons of Dr. King in their lives and community. Kerney explains, “Schools could not be more ready for Dr. King’s dream of peace and equality to combat the recurring violence that has devastated communities across the nation.”

Due to the eruption of popularity among students last year, the entire school is participating in PTP this year with a capstone assembly and pie social in the presence of Lorain’s Mayor, Chase Ritenauer. Ritenauer will deliver a peace proclamation to the 320 students grade K-8. Students will present a collaborative musical performance with body percussion to highlight the event. Following the assembly, students will gather around the “table of brotherhood” where they will share pie, friendship, and equality.

Melisa Shady, principal of the school believes that, “the positive message of tolerance, acceptance and peace is one that translates well into all aspects of our educational program and encourages our students to stand-up and make a difference in our school, community and beyond.”

Lorain Community School is the first K-8 school in the nation to adopt the Pie-O-Neers for Peace Program, designed to help schools and youth programs promote diversity, inclusiveness and cultivate peace on campus. The PTP organization also teamed up with the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate initiative in several schools, which have tailored the program to fit their needs – from classroom celebrations to campus wide events.

During PTP students will be given opportunities to show leadership and “step up to the plate” to become a Pie-O-Neer for Peace. Students will take a pledge that they commit to pursue peace and friendship and sign the banner to serve as a landmark of peace in the building.

The assembly will take place on February 1st at 2pm in the school gymnasium.