By Linda Mauel
Summer officially begins this month! Imagine warm summer days in Central Park or at the Jersey shore, picnics with family and friends, and of course apple pie.
There’s a pie for everyone! Some prefer deep dish, others an open face Tarte Tatin. My grandson prefers his with a woven lattice top and whipped cream, while my husband prefers his with a full top crust, warmed with ice cream.
Salivating yet? Grabbing your keys for a trip to the nearest bakery? Or reaching for your mom’s famous award winning apple pie recipe? No matter whether store bought or homemade, by the time we each finish our apple pie, we will have finished a Quality PIE also! “A Quality PIE” you may ask? Let me show you what I mean…
I decided I wanted to serve apple pie (small letter “p”) at a family picnic last week, so I began to Plan. What type of pie do I want? Where am I going to get it and how do I want to serve it? Also, when (I know with whom) do I want to enjoy it! I bought 2 fresh pies – one lattice and one full crust – from the bakery near the house. I planned to serve the pies warmed with a choice of ice creams and whipped cream just before sunset.
Next, it was time to Implement my plan of attack. When shopping for the picnic, I picked up the pies, a variety of ice creams, including chocolate (for dad) and vanilla (for my husband), and of course whipped cream for my eldest grandson. At the picnic just before sunset, I warmed the pies, and then set them out with the toppings. The adults savored their apple pie while the kids tried to outdo each other with their unique pie and ice cream concoctions.
I looked around my back yard, assessing faces in the setting sun and Evaluating the reactions to this fun, delicious, sweet and tangy choice of a summer dessert. I decided that it was a hit and to serve it again – maybe with a fruit salad next time!
I bet you are asking yourselves “what does this have to do with Quality PIE (and why am I reading this instead of getting some pie for myself)?” Well, many of us cringe when we hear the term “Quality” or “Quality Assurance” and usually respond that someone else handles “that.” The truth of the matter – quality assurance is a part of all our lives. Whether working on a project, competing in a marathon, or providing those we love with a delicious apple pie dessert, we Plan, we Implement, and then we Evaluate/assess to determine if all was acceptable as planned and if there are any changes to be made next time. Planning + Implementing + Evaluating are the fundamental ingredients of The Quality PIE.
Enjoy your summer and may all of your pies be a success!
About the Author: Linda Mauel serves as the region’s Quality Assurance Manager. She works in the Division of Environmental Science and Assessment out of EPA’s Edison Environmental Center. Linda holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in Chemistry from Rutgers University. She worked in the private sector for 11 years then began her 20+ year career with EPA in the quality assurance program.