Today on the tray: Boston (cream pie)

October 23 is National Boston Cream Pie Day.

Here’s a little primer on Boston cream pie, courtesy of Wikipedia:

A Boston cream pie is a cake that is filled with a custard or cream filling and frosted with chocolate. Although it is called a Boston cream pie, it is in fact a cake, and not a pie. Created by Armenian-French chef M. Sanzian at Boston’s Parker House Hotel in 1856, this pudding and cake combination comprises two layers of sponge cake filled with vanilla flavored custard or crème pâtissière. The cake is topped with a chocolate glaze (such as ganache) and sometimes powdered sugar or a cherry.

The Boston cream pie is the official dessert of Massachusetts, declared as such in 1996. However, it is not mass-produced in Boston.

Boston cream pie isn’t the only great thing about Boston. The city has provided the setting for many a TV show. Below is one of my favorite openings to a TV show set in Boston. No, it’s not that one where everybody knows your name. It’s James at 15, a coming-of-age drama from the late 1970s. (The show was retitled James at 16 when the character hit his 16th birthday and lost his virginity to a Swedish foreign exchange student in the same episode—talk about coming of age!)

Opening credits, James at 15 (1977)

I’m also partial to the another series set in Boston; this one is based on a movie that takes place at Harvard Law School. No, not Legally Blonde. I’m talking about The Paper Chase. The opening is memorable for the 1970s soft-rock theme song performed by Seals & Crofts, and for John Houseman, as the crusty law professor, saying “You teach yourselves the law, but I train your minds. You come in here with a skull full of mush—and, if you survive, you leave thinking like a lawyer.”

Opening credits, The Paper Chase (1978-79)

I love it when teachers deliver nuggets of wisdom in the opening credits of a show that way. Like in the opening credits of Fame, when Debbie Allen as the dance teacher tells her students, “You’ve got big dreams. You want fame. Well fame costs—and right here is where you start paying—in sweat!” Yeah, we get it: If you want something badly, you’ve got to be willing to work for it.

But all I really want right now is some Boston cream pie.

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