Pi Day cuisine
March 14 is Pi Day, which celebrates that nice, irrational number 3.141593-yada-yada-yada representing the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. (Thanks, math-teacher husband.) It's also an excuse for a party.
Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, of the late Old Waverly History Exchange & Tea Room, has thrown a Pi Day party for the past 12 or 13 years. The menu changes, but the food is always round. Say, salad with cherry tomatoes and slices of carrot, cucumber and radish -- no lettuce. If she serves pizzas, they're sized for one so the circles don't have to be "desecrated" into wedges. (Or sectors, suggests math-hubby; OK, dear, you've done your part. Go away now and let me work.)
Shapiro's no-desecration stance tends to exclude pie, oddly enough. Unless they're mini-pies. Shapiro is thinking of making individual cheesecakes for dessert this year. And maybe homemade bagels.
The conversation is circular, too.
"We get into the more existential -- life is a circle," she said. "There are all sorts of wonderful quotes that deal with the circle of life."
The idea for the party came from her husband, Fred Shoken, an architectural historian.
"He is a pi freak," she said. "He can recite pi to I don't know how many decimals."
This year, for the first time, their party will take place on the night before Pi Day. That's because Shapiro, who intends to start making cheese professionally, has to travel to Vermont on the 14th for a workshop on washed-rind cheeses.
"All Jewish holidays start the night before," she noted. "That's why we feel it's OK."
In other words, the circle will remain unbroken.