Call me "Simple Simon"
Call me a “Simple Simon,” but I met a pie man at the fair this past weekend.
OK, it wasn’t exactly a fair. It was a much-needed shot in the arm for Maggie Valley — a very well organized and wonderfully executed Oktoberfest celebration.
Hats off to Jim Higel, owner of Legends Sports Bar for a job extremely well done.
But Jim wasn’t the “pie man” I met. It was a “pie woman” nicknamed “Mama Moody, and I’ve been wanting to write about her wonderful fried pies for years.
So, smack dab in the middle of Haywood County’s Fitness Challenge, and at the risk of repercussions from my cardiologist, Dr. David Peterson, here goes.
Mama Moody, actually Debra Andersen, has been frying up pies in Maggie Valley and beyond since 2007. That’s when she got the idea to make and sell pies, “like her Grandma Moody used to make ‘em.”
As Andersen explained it, her Grandma Moody used leftover biscuit dough from the morning biscuits, and dried fruit — usually apples, from the fall harvest — to cook up what she remembers was “a little bit of heaven.”
This explains why modern-day “Mama Moody” came up with her banner claim — “Mama Moody’s Fried Pies — “Good for your soul.”
Now, I don’t want to get ‘all religious’ about a food item, but I mean to tell you — one bite of Mama Moody’s fried pies, and you’ll feel like you “died and went to heaven.”
Yes, they are that good.
As a matter of fact, as I interviewed Mama Moody while she was setting-up for the Saturday crowd at Oktoberfest, it wasn’t long before there was a long line of people waiting for their favorite flavor. It’s like that all day long.
Mama Moody fried pies are filled with apple, peach, cherry, blueberry, chocolate and coconut cream filling. As far as I can tell, they disappear from her display case about as fast as she can make them. And she is fast.
The modern day Mama Moody uses pre-rolled sheets of biscuit dough “put up over the winter” and a hand-cranked, pie roller-shaper-crimper device. Her skilled hands can roll out a pie about every thirty seconds. Then she fries six at a time in a propane-powered deep fryer.
As she was frying-up a batch, I asked Mama Moody, “How many calories are in your average pie?” That’s when her next-door-vendor, and good friend, Mrs. Duckett, shouted out, “There are no calories when food is cooked outdoors.”
I did some research on the Internet, and Mrs. Duckett was right.
Did you know? — When food is cooked outside, all of the calories escape into the open air. That’s why so many men prefer to barbecue instead of slaving over an oven. Of course, I’m just making this up.
My golden rule on calories, is, “If you have to ask, you probably shouldn’t eat it.”
For Mama Moody’s fired pies, I’m supporting our military’s policy of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.”
You can find Mama Moody and her signature, fried pies at many local fairs. She also sets up on occasional weekends next to Duckett’s produce stand in Maggie Valley.
Whenever and wherever you see Mama Moody, you are in for a treat.
Tell her that “Simple Simon” sent you.”