Yesterday I was honored to be one of the judges at an apple pie contest. I’ve nicknamed it pie-a-palooza because it wasn’t just a handful of pies, it was twenty-one pies; all completely different: apple-pear, apple-cranberry, apple-blueberry, apple-crumb. There were single crusts, double crusts, lattice tops; marscapone crusts, cheddar crusts, vodka crusts, and an inedible no-bake, raw vegan pie. Some smart aleck even tossed in a handful of McDonald’s in an effort to trick-up the judging. (They weren’t half bad, by the way.) Sweet, savory, sour, spicy – even one surprisingly bitter pie – there was a panoply of apple flavors to choose from, depending on your mood and your particular tastes. The winner? Well, technically there was a tie. But in the push to crown a winner the crumble-topped, whiskey and walnut apple pie was edged out by a sour-cream infused deep dish concoction with the humble name, Best. Pie. Ever. I think perhaps it was the addition of homemade vanilla ice cream that pushed it to the top.