Ultimate Pi Day

One of the Eat The Fine Print sisters is a Pi aficionado; she can recite the first 119 digits. OK, still a ways to go to break the world record of 67,890 digits set by Chao Lu in 2005, but impressive in the edible greeting cards world. Pi enthusiasts are particularly excited about the once-in-a-century Pi Day occurring this month.

Guess what we will be eating 3/14/15 at 9:26:53?

2 sisters created Eat The Fine Print -- Brian Weiss photo

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Valentine’s Day–Alaska Style

When Dad asked Mom for a Valentine’s date, she was suspicious. Our parents were frugal and rarely ate out.
“I won a free dinner at the Chinese restaurant.”
(There was only one Chinese restaurant in Juneau.)
“You won it?”
“In a contest… I wrote a Valentine’s poem.” He choked on his laughter.
“Well, I’m not agreeing to anything until I hear your poem!”
Dad’s winning verse had already been broadcast on KTOOsweetie like uthe local radio station, so Mom wasn’t the first to hear it:

My dear Judith Ann
If you were to select between chocolates and me
I wouldn’t expect the decision to be
A difficult task for a sweetheart like you
But my dear, might I ask, would you save me a few?

In addition to dinner, the prize also included being picked up in style. That February 14, a bitter cold front following a thaw had frozen the whole town into such a sheet of ice that roads were barely passable. Severe weather was not uncommon in Alaska, but this storm was extreme enough to close the schools, and the state and federal office buildings. The limousine couldn’t get down the driveway. Mom & Dad picked their way through snowdrifts to reach the highway, where the driver rolled out a length of red carpet, helped them into the waiting limo, and whisked them 17 miles to Valentine’s dinner downtown.

At Eat The Fine Print, we try to carry on the tradition of sweet irreverence.

To Have, To Eat

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Quick, fill in the blank: “have your ______ and eat it too.” Chances are you chose a 4-letter word that starts with the letters C & A. Most native speakers of English know this expression — ever wondered where it came from?

Originally coined by the Duke of Norfolk in 1538, it makes more sense in an earlier form: for centuries, the eating came before the having. Two hundred years after the Duke invented the phrase, Jonathan Swift wrote a line for a character: “She cannot eat her cake and have her cake.” It’s obvious that way right? The cake has been eaten; it’s gone. Duh!

Although the expression evolved to put the eating last, some linguistic purists still insist on the more logical “you can’t eat your cake and have it too.” These sticklers included Ted Kaczinski’s mother, which is why that phrase helped to catch the Unabomber, according to the New York Times.

We like playing with words and turning on its ear the idea that you can’t eat a greeting card. That’s why you can have your card and eat it too when you order from Eat The Fine Print.

Celebrating Independents

We support local independent retailers all year round–not just during “Indie Month”. IMG_2108_2
This week we shopped at Parkplace Books in Kirkland, Washington.

When you shop at a national chain store, 80% of the money leaves town immediately, according to Independent Retailer Month. Big box retailers are even worse. In contrast, when you shop at an independent store, most of the money keeps circulating in the community, providing jobs and funding local causes and media.

Our niece is an avid reader, and we needed the perfect present. Rebecca & Mary, the proprietors of Parkplace Books, can tell you why the birthday girl will like young adult author Blue Balliett. They can tell you how Balliett’s first book Chasing Vermeer started as stories for her elementary students, and about the time Balliett read in their store. If Parkplace doesn’t have the book you need, they can get it for you in a day or two. It costs the same if you order the book online, but when you buy from your local bookstore, you are sharing the love of reading so many more ways.

Random 49Cent Acts of Kindness

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What’s your favorite stamp?

We’re joining with you in committing #Random49CentActsofKindness!

What is the right occasion to send a greeting card? Remembering birthdays used to be a way of showing friends they’re special. Now Facebook and LinkedIn broadcast birthdays to the whole world; does that dilute the significance of birthday greetings? Perhaps it just means we have to be more creative!

Sending a card snail mail will still make you stand out from the hordes of online “Happy Birthdays”. But why wait for birthdays? Or Christmas, when everyone is deluged with greetings. Why wait for a holiday at all? It’s delightful to discover a surprise in the mail any day of the year. Think of it as a random 49cent act of kindness — just pop something fun in an envelope and deliver a smile to someone you care about! Order greetings from Eat The Fine Print and we’ll throw in the Forever stamps to mail them. (Good through 9/30/14.)

Frank’s Blueberry Pie Secrets  

 You’ve been aspie for a friendking for them, here they are…  just in time for the last hurrah of the 2014 wild blueberry season:

Frank’s secrets to the perfect blueberry pie.

Frank made pies in threes: one for tonight, one for breakfast, one to take to a friend. The ingredients are simple. Even if you only leave your wilderness cabin once a year to resupply, you have what you need.   

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6 cups flour. Sift first before measuring, then fork gently into measuring cup and resift.
1 T salt.  Just stir into flour with your fork.
2 cups Crisco (not butter-flavored). Cut the 1st cup in fine with the fork till there are really no lumps. Then add the 2nd cup and cut in coarse. The lumps layer in the rolled crust, making it flakey. (That may be the most important secret right there.) 
1 cup water. Sprinkle it in by spoonfuls, mixing with fork until you can form a ball.

Frank never bought a berry at the store. He grew up picking them as a job, and kept right on harvesting every season. He soaked the berries in saltwater to get the worms out, picked off any stems. If there were a lot of leaves, he used the vacuum cleaner hose in reverse to blow them clean, the noise riling the dog and briefly drowning out Gordon Lightfoot on the record player.

Measure a pie dish full of berries (slightly heaped) before you roll out the crust. Then do it twice more so you have enough berries for 3 pies. For each pie, mix the berries in a bowl with 1/4 cup minute tapioca and ~3/4 cup sugar.

Now divide the pie dough into 6 portions and roll out. If you cut the Crisco right per #1 Secret above, it should roll out smooth and elastic into 3 bottom crusts and 3 top circles.*

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Sprinkle the top of the berries with a dash of cinnamon before putting on the top crust. Seal top to bottom crust with a little cold water, press together with fork, and pinch ruffle.  

(OK, that pinch ruffle part? That sounds way easier than it actually is.)

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Brush canned milk onto the top.

This is an Alaskan recipe that assumes you may not have a grocery with cream anywhere nearby. As you see from the photo, Half & Half works great, too.

Before you pop the pies in the oven, pierce a few steam holes and bake at 425.

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 You probably have some little scraps of pie crust left over that you trimmed off the edges. Frank spread these with butter, sprinkled on cinnamon and sugar, and rolled into mini “cinnamon rolls”. 

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Take the pies out when juice begins to bubble out through the steam holes. 

*Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee your crust will roll out perfectly. Even watching Frank make pies a hundred times, I have never been able to repeat the magic of his crust. Mine falls apart before it ever gets into the pie dish. Our third sister paid better attention to the Pie Master.  Thanks to Anya, we have these photos to illustrate perfect pies with Frank’s secrets.

Labor Day Special – Free Edible Ink Pen

Our edible greetings are sealed in cellophane (compostable), and include a non-edible page for you to write your personal message in regular ink. Some fans tell us they really want to write directly on the greeting. And you can — in edible ink!  Edible ink pens are popular with confectioners and bakers who create elaborate cakes and other digestible works of art. We’ve all used food coloring, right? Edible pens are food coloring, and here are some good tips for keeping the tips writing. In celebration of holidays — especially the upcoming holiday — we’re mailing a free AmeriColor Gourmet Writer pen with each purchase from our website!

What will you use your pen to write on besides the edible cards? Edible PenCheck out these great ideas from The Decorated Cookie. 

Happy Labor Day, and please order today to get your free edible pen!

(Offer ends 9/5/14.)