If there’s one thing Karen Amarotico is, it’s thankful. A dedicated giver with a habit of baking, she embarked on a journey of gratitude just over 100 days ago in her cozy kitchen in Ashland, Oregon. Her mission is to bake a pie a day for an entire year and give each of them away to friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers to express her gratitude for something they did, or just to put a little thanks back into the universe.
A self-described baker to the core, Amarotico has been enjoying her time in the kitchen since getting her own Easy-Bake Oven as a young girl. She quickly moved on from there and attended the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. Her goal has always been to help people, and she found that baking could fulfill this need since she can create memories for people. The pie project, she says, is a natural way for her to express gratitude since baking is her passion.
The idea was born one sleepless night as she thought of ways she could let those around her know how appreciative she was of them. This act of giving to others has now grown into something that has enriched her own life beyond anything she could have imagined. She writes about her experiences daily on her blog, which is filled with tales of coincidence and perfect timing, suggesting, perhaps, that the world is not small, but that we can live large lives. Her stories of people’s reactions vary from instant tears to shock and disbelief. She has brightened up many horrible days, began new friendships, rekindled old ones, accidentally met new neighbors, even given a pie as a genuine symbol of reconciliation and forgiveness to the man who accidentally hit her with his car while she was riding her bike, and it just so happened to be his birthday.
Her pies have helped celebrate new life, and comforted those saying goodbye to old, she’s solved dinner problems for those who have been too busy to even think about what to make, she unknowingly gave pie number 81 to an 81-year-old, and throughout it all has discovered that these serendipitous encounters can have profound consequences. It’s the little coincidences that she says make her feel as if the project is “divinely inspired,” and that is exactly what keeps her motivated.
She makes her perfectly textured dough in batches once a week and will sometimes plan ahead and bake more than one pie in a day if she knows she will not be able to the next. Part of her repertoire includes experimenting with old recipes to further perfect them. Fluffy quiches have been delivered to those without a sweet tooth, and tangy fresh fruit tarts, mixed berry, rhubarb, and apple pies, and creamy chocolate and brownie pies found their way to those who she thought could use a little sweetness added to their day.
Follow her blog, pieadaygiveaway.com, and let her inspire you to think about ways you could show your gratitude to the world around you!
Photos: Karen Amarotico