Monday, March 9, 2015

Meatless Monday: Counting Down to Pi Day of the Century

Yes! Saturday, March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day, the day on which we honor the irrational number pi (π), the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi Day was first observed by physicist Larry Shaw of San Francisco’s Exploratorium in 1988.

Pi rounds to 3.14 but goes on forever. It has been calculated to one trillion digits; you can view one million of them here

This year’s Pi Day is a very special one. How special? Normally we celebrate the first three digits of π. But this year, Pi Day falls on 3.14.15, the first five digits of π. AND, at 9:26:53 am and pm on this date, we can celebrate its first 10 digits: 3.141592653! This won’t happen again until the next century! So, for most of us, this is a once in a lifetime chance to party big time.

To celebrate mathematics and to honor π, Pi Day is celebrated on 3.14 all over the world, with pi songs, pi jokes, contests to see who can memorize the most digits of pi, and, best of all, by eating that universally popular circular food — PIE!

Who doesn’t love pie? Pie comes in so many varieties — sweet and savory, fruity and custardy, dense and light. Pie can be a dessert or the main event. And, of course, especially in my city of New Haven, whose pizza has a Wikipedia entry, there is also pizza pie.

Last year I observed Pi Day by baking Frances Moore Lappe’s Garden Vegetable Pie, a recipe that can be tailored to whatever you have in your refrigerator. It is, as Lappé says, “A beautiful dish that can be different each time.” Here is a photo of last year’s dinner remains. 

Remains of the Day 2014
For those of you who still have cranberries in the freezer, here is a sweet recipe: Shaker Cranberry Pie.

And here is a pie crust recipe for Paleo dieters, so that the, too, can enjoy some Pi Day pie.

Since Pi Day falls on a Saturday this year, I just might celebrate with a slice or two (or even three) from Modern Pizza, home of New Haven’s finest pies since 1934.

Happy Monday. Happy Pi Day! Have a great week!

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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