Happy Birthday to my friend Shane! Today concludes “The Nine Days of Pie,” which is the way Shane’s birthday is celebrated throughout the greater Astoria area. Do not confuse this awesome event with “The Life of Pi,” the movie coming to theaters later this month—THIS is the event we’ve been waiting all year to enjoy!

“Issues of spirituality and practicality,” one of the promotional lines for the soon-to-be-released film, are a staple of “The Nine Days of Pie,” and one leaves there with wistful longings for a bigger taste of the World According to Shane. (And for that, one could read “The Suffering and Celebration of Life in America,” the dynamite book Shane and Amy just released!)

Amy, as chief pie baker and bottle washer, does a fabulous job with both sweet and savory, and each evening’s offering is a delightful surprise. There is no set “menu,” guests just get what they get, which might mean whatever she’s in the mood to bake. Her cookbooks go back more than a century, and her “spontaneous substitutions” always add to the consummate culinary experience.

For Amy and Shane, this is their major annual holiday. For me, it’s the kickoff for great things still to come. Yet I’m left wondering: what can top this? And I’m left answering: maybe coconut sprinkles.

Thanks, guys, it was absolutely fabulous!