The distinguished, older man glanced over at his daughter-in-law. He knew which one Mary would choose, but he was the judge and he would not take his duties lightly. No, Orin Travis took his time, carefully weighing the merits of each.

The one at the forefront wasn't half-baked, as so many were. No, this one had a tough layer, but once you broke through that, inside Orin had found something remarkable, something cool — a nice change, given the tension in the air today. Definitely the leader.

But, the one to the leader's right couldn't be ignored: a little bit fruity, but not overly so, nothing ostentatious — the judge couldn't stand ostentatious. No, straightforward and easy simplicity were the words of choice here, marking this one a close second.

Of course, the one to the left was something to behold as well — so smooth, an obvious favorite with the ladies — and a good compliment to the leader.

But the row behind held just as much substance, just as much worth. One wholesome and good for what ailed a man. Another substantial and good for the soul. The third was daring, an amalgamation unlike any other he'd ever encountered, yet unmistakably southern. And the fourth ... well, so small as to almost be overlooked, save for the boldness that wouldn't be ignored.

No, he couldn't decide.

"Ladies," the judge began, addressing the women of the town. "These seven are magnificent, and I simply cannot choose between them. I declare this year's pie baking contest a seven-way tie!"


April 2002

Please do NOT repost this recipe anywhere outside of the Blackraptor website and cookbook.

Characters from "The Magnificent Seven," were used without permission and this recipe in no way signifies support of, or affiliation with, The Mirisch Group, MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, CBS Worldwide, Inc., or Betty Crocker.  This recipe belongs to the chef and will not be sold for any reason.

Thanks to Flavia; while her story In The Shadow Of The Cathedral is in no way related, in either theme or content, to this story, it served as inspiration just the same.