It’s been over five months since Natalie Galatzer decided to shutter her bike delivery pie business, Bike Basket Pies. And life already looks a lot different. She’s not schlepping around the Mission doing deliveries, she’s not working well into the night rolling out dough, and she’s not stressing about the seasonality of persimmons or how manageable her to-do list is for the next day. The best thing is that she’s not thinking about tomorrow today—she’s really enjoying today for today, including the ability to make social plans and travel.
Natalie’s currently working at two Bay Area restaurants waiting tables and thinking about what’s next. But the difference is she’s thinking big picture, not about tomorrow’s ingredient lists. And there’s freedom in that space to just breathe, reconsider, and reflect. One thing’s for sure: Natalie’s pretty certain the big picture won't include baking. She always thought that she wanted to be a baker, but isn’t convinced anymore. The act of turning something she loved into a business, made it quickly about the outcome and not the process she once loved. As you can imagine, this eventually killed the joy she once found in baking.
But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t looked back. In between her shifts waiting tables and scheming up new ideas, she needed a creative project and felt like she owed a little something to her loyal pie customers. So she decided to write a pie booklet, entitled Bike Basket Pies: How to Make Handheld Pies for Bicycle Delivery, with 14 of her favorite and most popular recipes and detailed instructions and illustrations on the process of making small (and large) pies. It was time that the recipes lived on somewhere other than within her computer spreadsheets. It was time to give something back.
After two years in business, you can imagine how difficult it was to choose a mere fourteen recipes for the booklet. Natalie organized all of her recipes not just by the seasons but actually by the months she’d make them–heavily dictated by the produce available in the Bay Area during that time. She knew she wanted to structure the book using the seasons, but she also wanted each recipe to be uniquely her own. For instance, in terms of pumpkin pie, there are limited things you can do with a pumpkin pie recipe. Her pumpkin, while wonderful, doesn’t differ all that much from my pumpkin or your mother’s pumpkin. But there are so many of Natalie’s pies that are the exact opposite and that’s what she decided to highlight in her book.
When you hold the booklet in your hands, you’ll notice the charming illustrations by Minty Lewis. They truly make Natalie’s words and recipes come alive: from drawings of the actual pies to step-by-step illustrated instructions on forming small pies and larger pies. Beyond the illustrations, you’ll notice there are 14 recipes (3 for each season along with a few savories). Yes, the Shaker Orange recipe is in there. As is the Pear Ginger. In addition to the recipes, there are little sections on Making Dough, Rolling Out Dough, Forming Small Pies, and Making a 9” Pie. There are clear mini sections on Temperatures and Baking Times, too. You’re in good hands here. While some people find pie-making overwhelming, Natlalie’s assured tone and concise instructions and Minty’s sweet illustrations will force you out of any pie rut. Guaranteed.
The booklet took Natalie a little over a month to write with one of the bigger challenges being how to decide what parts of the pie-making process to illustrate, how much detailed information to provide for the home baker, and how to best layout each step for her readers. The easiest way for her to tackle this was to spend a day making pie and having a friend photograph the process. Then they went through to decide what parts of the process seemed like an actual step and what they could assume the reader would already understand.
When asked about proprietary recipes and whether she was nervous about them being out and available to the public, Natalie replied, “What am I going to do with them? A lot about it is technique and practice anyway, and I’m no longer making pies for people so now I can give then the tools to do it on their own and still enjoy what I make.”
So is Natalie’s day-to-day life one without pie? Largely, yes. She doesn’t make them anymore and doesn’t find herself craving them. That will probably come back in time. For now, she’s excited to produce something tangible that’s different in the sense that it’s a living, lasting artifact. A piece of pie, while lovely in the moment, won’t last for generations. Natalie’s book of recipes will. And lucky for us, she’s decided to share.
Buy the Booklet: Bike Basket Pies: How to Make Handheld Pies for Bicycle Delivery is available for order now on Natalie's website. Orders placed from now until November 29th will be shipped on December 1st. In addition, keep your eyes peeled as Natalie has plans to approach area book shops who may be interested in stocking it.