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The Old-Fashioned Pie Supper

Updated on October 27, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

I'm carrying on my mother's research into our family history. I've self-published some family memoirs & learned a lot about different eras.

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.

Homemade blueberry pie.
Homemade blueberry pie. | Source

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

And won.

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

Monte Manka's Mother and Aunt Mary in the Late 1920s
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

Totally Pies Cookbook (Totally Cookbooks Series)
Totally Pies Cookbook (Totally Cookbooks Series)

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

Vintage Hoosier cabinet with flour dispenser and spices.
Vintage Hoosier cabinet with flour dispenser and spices. | Source

How about a Lovely New Pie Plate to Show off Your Pie

Good Cook Bradshaw International 04412 9′ RED Ceram Pie Plate
Good Cook Bradshaw International 04412 9′ RED Ceram Pie Plate

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

The Garnett Review  (Garnett, Kansas) 04 Dec 1919, Thu  • Page 6
The Garnett Review (Garnett, Kansas) 04 Dec 1919, Thu • Page 6 | Source

Meet Monte Manka - The Octogenarian Poet


© 2010 Virginia Allain

Have You Heard of Pie Suppers Before Now?

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    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      7 years ago

      Amazing concept, loved the poem in a big way.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm following Jewels around and actually came here from her page. I'd say and Old-Fasioned Pie Supper would be heavenly! You are stirring some memories my dear! I love how you are inspired by Monte Manka. Beautifully done!

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      What an awesome custom! It raised money for the church, it gave the young people a supervised way to get acquainted, and gave the young women an incentive to work on their domestic skills. That is really cool. Great lens.


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