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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A “couple of thousand women” were “laughing themselves to the verge of hysterics” in an evening of “screaming comedy” at Spokane’s National Apple Show.

What was the cause of all of this hilarity? Why, the sight of men trying to bake apple pies. Imagine that.

The men stood onstage, and without any apparent culinary knowledge, proceeded to improvise a pie. One man “started out well.” He mixed “lard, water, sugar, salt, baking powder and a little of everything else he found on the table.” He “welded” it into a solid mass – and then he “slipped to the edge of the platform and dumped it overboard.”

One other overmatched cook placed a “ragged mass of dough on top of the sliced apples and then rolled it down hard with a rolling pin.”

Another man adopted somewhat the same method, then stuck the mess into the oven and “burnt it to a crisp, accomplishing without doubt the worst pie that was ever baked in this or any other country.”

Another produced a creditable finished pie, but one of his fellow competitors examined it and “pulled out a long lock of hair.”

It was all in good fun, but nevertheless an ordeal for the beleaguered cooks. One contestant was described, alarmingly, as “literally sweating blood for 35 or 40 minutes.”