Illustration for article titled Last Call: Cooking as an art form, literally
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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

If you’re looking for a good, wholesome Instagram follow—besides, ahem, @thetakeoutsite—head straight for @lokokitchen. Lauren Ko, a baker from Seattle, creates dazzlingly geometric, colorful pies that are a feast for the eyes, and presumably some lucky recipients’ bellies. Their flavors are as inventive as their presentation, and somehow it never once smacks of a gimmick, presumably because the craftsmanship involved is unquestionable. It comforts me to know that there are people who see the world as a series of opportunities for beauty. This, for example, is how Lauren Ko interprets the suggestion, “Hey, let’s make a fruit tart.”

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And here is what is created when Lauren Ko decides, “I think I’ll try baking a caramel pear pie today”:

And so on. There really is no better word than art to describe these pies. And now, as Atlas Obscura explains, Ko is collaborating with the creative collective ResidNYC to present My American Pie, a project that uses pie as a medium to tell a larger story. As explained on the ResidNYC Instagram page,

“The #MyAmericanPie series features apple pies designed with multicultural aesthetics and flavors, to celebrate America’s diversity. Each pie is inspired by a real individual, giving a delicious and revealing visual of their unique Americanness.”

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So unlike a bunch of pies that borrow flavors from various American culinary traditions, as you might find in a cookbook, these are pies that speak to a single person’s uniquely American experience. The results are stunning, from a pie that emulates a subject’s golden braids in twists of baked crust, to one emblazoned with the colors of the Honduran flag that also suggest the blue and white patterns of Ko’s grandmother’s china. Go look at every last one.

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Ko’s ingenuity is an inspiring reminder that half the fun of any kitchen project is ending up with something lovely to look back on. What’s the most beautiful dish you’ve ever made? Even if it maybe didn’t taste as good as you wanted it to. Is there something flashy—show-stopping, even—that you love to make when you have the chance? I’ve got an 11-layer boozy Jell-O bundt that I love to break out for various holidays. It takes four hours to make and only a third of the ring gets eaten by the end of the night, but good lord, the beauty. Sometimes the beauty is enough.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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