Blueberry Octopus Pie

1355_10151829946532193_991897108_n-1Who would have imagined such a thing/beast? One more evidence of the irresistible force of human creativity. Or octo-obsession. This masterpiece was posted by my friend Antigone Pantanizopoulos, a master baker who might have made it but didn’t. There’s an octopus incident in the first chapter of Swimming in the Moon: hence my posting here. And a gustatory memory.

I learned to be mildly fond of marinated octopus antipasti during my years in Italy but only after getting over the offerings of the late night boiled and fried octopus stand outside our first apartment in Naples, very near the train station, not a lovely part of town. A caldron sat on the basalt sidewalk with octopi heaped under the sun. I’d never found myself at two in the morning yearning for tentacles boiled in rancid oil, but lots of people did. All day and into the early hours, young men and couples zoomed up in motor scooters to buy scoops on paper plates. We finally tried and got mildly sick. Something to do with the sun, the old oil or the admixture of car exhaust. No accounting for taste. Go to a restaurant is my advice, or buy fresh by the port of Naples where octopus dealers line up, constantly herding the critters back their baskets. They’ll kill your pick for you on request.

But back to representational bakery art. I never imagined blueberry octopus pie. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how you can live your whole life and never put two ideas together? Now try not to think of warm octopus pie a la mode.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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Workshop on Point of View for the Knoxville Writers Guild, Sat. Feb. 18, 2017, 10am to noon

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“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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