Contributed by: Bruce Gartner, Michigan
Growing up in the Detroit Michigan suburb of Dearborn, I will always remember my first experience eating “Thumb Pie.” In the late 50′s and early 60′s my father played old country music with a few of his Greyhound Bus driver buddies. One of those guys, Burgess Broyles, was a really good fiddle player. He grew up in Tennessee and played fiddle all over the South as a young man. Eventually he settled in Detroit.
After one of my dad’s house music parties, my mother invited Burgess to stay over for supper. My mother, Dorothy, did her best to put on a “grand” dinner as we rarely had company for supper outside of family holiday gatherings. After the meal was done, mom pulled out a freshly baked pie and and served a generous slice on a plate to each. Burgess picked up the slice of pie from the plate, took a bite and exclaimed “Dorothy, this is some of the best thumb pie I’ve ever eaten”. My mom, dad, myself and sister all must have had the same quizzical expression. “Thumb pie?” I asked, thinking that maybe in the south they called cherry pie, thumb pie. Burgess, took another bite, paused for a brief moment and with the slightest smile said, ” yeah, thumb pie. It was then I realized that thumb pie is any pie that can be eaten out of hand without utensil by supporting the slice with the thumb and forefinger.”
Ahh…I still so love a good thumb pie.