The Old-Fashioned Pie Supper
Nothing Says Loving Like a Fresh Pie from the Oven
All about Pie Suppers in the 1930s
I was intrigued by octogenarian Monte Manka's poem about his courting failure at a 1930s pie supper. Vaguely I knew of pie suppers and box suppers, where an auction was held. The winning bidder got to eat with the girl who made the pie or prepared the box supper. Sometimes the bidding was high for something made by a pretty and popular girl or for one made by a very good cook.
In exploring this topic, I found some very interesting things about pie suppers and courting behavior in rural America in the 1930s and 1940s. Start off by enjoying the poem, "Pie Supper" by Monte Manka and browse further down to see all the information I found about this custom.
Pie Supper at Durechen School - A poem by Monte Manka
The story is true, but the names were changed
Pie Supper at Durechen School (pronounced Doo racken)
Saddled Old "Ten Spot"
Toward Durechen School I rode
Had my money in my overall pocket
I was in an excited mode.
When I arrived
The goodies were on a table
I looked them all over
But was not able
To see the one
That was baked by Bessie Mae
I wanted to bid on hers
And eat with her today.
There were pies of every description
Apple, Cherry, Pecan, and Gooseberry
I looked and couldn't figure out
Which one was baked by Bessie Mae.
The Auctioneer started the biding
I always opened with my twenty cents
But was over-bid
Sometimes by a dollar and fifty cents.
As the pies were sold
The winner, that lucky guy
He could sit and enjoy it
With the girl who baked the pie.
The last pie
Was a beautiful pecan
I put in my twenty cent bid
My heart was beating faster
The thought of eating with Bessie Mae
Would make me so happy
And really make my day.
But Bessie Mae had baked
That great Gooseberry pie
I cringed in my seat
When I saw the lucky guy
He sat at the table with Bessie Mae
I developed a deep seated hatred
For that creep
I wanted to be dead.
The pie I won I shared with
A woman as old as my Mother
She brought it to my table
I'm thinking "Oh Bother"
I know this lady could see my embarrassment
My disappointment must have shown
She sat down beside me
I wished I were alone.
She asked me my name
She asked me my age
Wanted to know where I lived
We were seated just off the stage.
She asked me what I wanted to drink
Coffee, Milk or tea
She was just as nice as could be
And really treated me
Nice, now I began to warm
And forgot about Bessie Mae
And that creep
Eating at her table across the way.
The pie was super
And soon I lost my consternation
As we both really
Carried on a great lively conversation.
There were a couple songs
A couple recitations
A final Prayer
That ended the Pie Supper Celebration.
Monte Manka's Mother and Aunt Mary in the Late 1920s
Pie Suppers Are Still Held
Here's one that's a fundraiser in Arkansas a few years ago. The YouTube video shows how it was conducted. The video is only 5 minutes long.
Video of a Pie Supper Auction
Pie Supper Memories
Monte Manka shares more memories of Chelsea pie suppers,
"The good eating was at the pie suppers that were held in the school. You could depend on getting all the cake, ice cream, and pie you could hold. The kerosene lanterns hung in the center of the ceiling, made weird shadows on the walls of the school. Seems like all the student’s families and other farm families came to the supper. We had handheld fans to keep us cool when the nights were hot. The teacher wouldn’t let us have them when school was in session. The handles were easily broken and then they were no good.
The food wasn’t the tastiest but I know of no one that went hungry. There always seemed to be something left over and if anyone was still hungry, it was shared with him or her."
Daisy Cook wrote about pie suppers, "The schoolhouse was the place for the annual pie supper; a social event that enabled young adults to get together and at the same time, raise money for schoolbooks. Girls made box suppers with pie desserts and wrapped them in ribbons and bows."
Sue Gerard in Granny's Notes wrote this, Pies sold high, but everybody loved county school pie suppers. "If you've never been to a pie supper at a one-room rural school, there's a treat in store for you." She wrote that sentence in 1935 (click on the title to read the rest of this memory piece.
A couple married for 65 years, remembers their meeting at a pie supper in 1911. Read about it in A Visit with Alma and Archie Locke.
Box Suppers Provided Sweet Entertainment during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. Otherwise, entertainment was almost non-existent. (click on the title to read more about box suppers and pie suppers).
Get Some Great Pie Recipes Here
Good, old-time pie recipes like grandma used to make. Yum!
This book has the basics plus some fancier ones for you to try. Impress your family and guests.
I like having it on Kindle as it is easy to pull up a recipe and the book isn't sitting on the bookshelf taking up space.
Bessie Mae Probably Cooked That Gooseberry Pie in a Kitchen Like This
How about a Lovely New Pie Plate to Show off Your Pie
I have this pie plate and it really gives an old-fashioned look to any pie I make. The ceramic means good heat transference, so I choose it over my metal pie pans. It would stand out from all the other pies at a pie supper.
Look How Popular Pie Suppers Were in 1919
Meet Monte Manka - The Octogenarian Poet
More of Monte Manka's Writing and Memories
- What Is a Shivaree?
Shivaree has a number of meanings and even different spellings. Learn about old-fashioned weddings followed by a shivaree. I'll explain the other definitions of the term too.
- Chelsea School Memories
An 80 year old shares his memories of 1930s and 1940s school days in Chelsea, Kansas. The town of Chelsea is long gone from the map, but his memories keep that time alive for us.
© 2010 Virginia Allain