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Baking Great Memories Holidays

And the Winner is…Drumroll Please…

November 26, 2021

Some things are worth waiting for, like a perfect fall day, a job you love, and your turn to bask in the glory of winning the Annual Cutthroat Tunno Pumpkin Pie Competition! So, without further ado, I would like to proudly announce that the winner of this year’s competition goes to……………………………………………………………..

Who wouldn’t want this masterpiece to be part of her meticulously chosen home decor?


Yes, after more than 30 years I can finally claim the coveted trophy, created by brother Bernie from an old little league trophy that still says, Canfield, Baseball Club 1983 Minor Runners Up. (Proof that no matter what, kids were going to get a damned trophy in the 80s!) It has a turkey plopped on top of a can of Libby’s pumpkin, surrounded on both sides by two light-up jack-o-lanterns.

Brother Bob wanted to elevate the trophy, so he added the Latin words: “In coelo quies…” those three words are normally followed by the word est. It translates to: In heaven there is rest. He got it from his Phi Delta fraternity magazine, where they list deceased brothers under that title. Bob, being a math lover, changed the last word to the mathematic symbol for Pi. (3.14).

In Tunnospeak, Pi equals actual PIE. Of course, there will be pie in heaven, lots of it! And we’ll all be winners!

To see my moment of glory, captured on video by Chris Tunno, just click on this link:

Or look at this photo and just imagine the rest. It was a rather Meg Ryan moment, a la When Harry Met Sally.

We think the competition started sometime in the late 80s, when my mom proudly announced “Oh my pie issa gonna be delicious…I made it witta nading but eggs.” That year, according to our spotty memories, Bernie also made a pumpkin pie, so naturally our competitive family decided to put it to a vote.

My mother, never one to back down from a challenge to her culinary authority, immediately started bribing her grandchildren with dollar bills to vote for her pie, which had a slighly greenish tinge because of the dozen or so eggs. (We’re guessing she was trying for custard.)We’d never have dared tell her her pie was not, “Da best,” but I believe we all secretly concurred that Bernie’s was, “da best.” And so a tradition was loosely born.

Back then, it was a much more laissez faire event. Rules did not exist, there was no trophy, or fanfare, and usually no bribing (unless you were Mom.).

As you may recall, our only dramatic upset came in 2003, when a non-Tunno pie was entered. It was innocent at first. Bernie and Donna’s friend Cindy said she’d made an extra pie and insisted Donna take it to Thanksgiving since Donna was tired and didn’t feel like baking. Donna asked Bernie to go pick up the pie, so Bernie did — big mistake. That act of kindness made him an accomplice.

That year, when Donna’s/Cindy’s pie won, Donna excitedly blurted out that it had been made by her friend, Cindy Uvena. (I think this is proof of her innocence since no bona-fide cheater would admit such a thing.)

When this treachery was discovered, brother Bob, grabbed a wooden meat tenderizer/gavel and called an emergency family pie meeting to order with a resounding whack on the counter. He questioned Bernie, asking what he knew. Bernie, who was several glasses of wine in, sheepishly admitted transporting the traitorous pie in his car.

My nephew, Matt, who had just come in second to an outsider’s pie kept yelling, “Who the heck is Cindy Uvena?”

Donna ended up with a three year pie suspension. Her accomplice, Bernie, got a one year suspension, and Matt had to live with the fact that he’d come in second to a non-Tunno pie.

Here is the roster of victors:

Chris conceding the trophy to his long suffering aunt.

2004: Patrick Tunno

2005: Matt Tunno

2006: Bob Tunno

2007: Tina Tunno

2008: Donna Tunno

2009: Chris Tunno

2010: Chris Tunno

2011: Elissa Tunno

2012: Chris Tunno

2013: Elissa Tunno and Chris Tunno (a tie)

Nate with the newly created Kid’s Trophy, another Bernie original.

2014: Chris Tunno

2015: Nate Tunno

2016: Patty Tunno

2017: Chris Tunno

2018: Chris Tunno

2019: Chris Tunno

2020: No competition due to Covid

2021: Fran Tunno (finally!)

My favorite photo is of the trophy my great-nephew Nate made in frustration over not winning. Happily, this year Nate was a winner too, bringing home the newly created kid’s trophy. I get it Nate, I felt that pain for years, but finally things turned around. I guess there is hope for the world! And, yes, I promise I will post the recipe soon!

Please become a follower by clicking on the box in the top right of my blog. I need all the followers I can get. And if you like this blog, please re-post it! Plus, if you need some ideas for Christmas, here is a list of 15 great ones! Thank you for reading and have fun decorating for the holidays!

YAY! I WON!!!!!!!

I LOVE this replica trophy made years ago by great-nephew Nate. He made his own trophy after losing to Chris.
Patrick teaching his son, Alessandro the rules of pie competition.
  • Reply
    Nicol Z
    November 29, 2021 at 1:13 pm

    I hope you heard all our cheers from here!!! I know how proud you are and well-deserved!! WOO HOO, Fran!!!!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 30, 2021 at 9:20 am

      Love you Nicol. It was a long time coming, which made it even better! I think I did hear a cheer from afar! Hope your Thanksgiving was great! xoxoxo

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    November 29, 2021 at 11:20 am

    This just in!!!! Chris is demanding a recount. The Cyber Ninjas are going to investigate voter fraud.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 30, 2021 at 9:19 am

      Ha Chas! Since Chris is the one counting the votes, that is unlikely, but there is always next year, so he does have hope. I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful! Now on to Christmas — Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!

  • Reply
    Charles Burkett
    November 27, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 27, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      I know, I just have to put it in here! It’s nothing spectacular, just a good pumpkin pie. And I am re-thinking my crust — AGAIN!

  • Reply
    Matilda Novak
    November 26, 2021 at 10:41 pm

    Heartfelt congratulations my brilliant Foodie Friend!!
    Well done!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 27, 2021 at 10:02 pm

      Thank. you Matilda, it felt pretty good. You’d think I had won the Oscar with how excited I got. Clearly, I need to get a life! 🙂

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