Standing on a big metal coffee tin to reach the countertop, I loved helping my grandma, Bea, roll out dough for homemade pies.
Entering a baking comp at age 11, I served Grandma’s famous cream puff to the judges – and won!
‘I’m so proud of you, darling,’ Grandma Bea said.
Sadly, in 1984, when I was 21, she passed away, aged 76.
In her honour, I opened my first bakery a few years later, using her vintage rolling pin and Pyrex measuring cup to make my creations.
At a nightclub a year later with my brother Keith, then 24, and some friends, I locked eyes with the handsome lead singer of the blues band that was playing.
Just then, he jumped off the stage, slid across the dance floor on his knees and landed at my feet, serenading me.
Our connection was electric.
‘I’m going to marry that man,’ I told Keith as the muso jumped back on the stage.
Leaving the club later that night, I came up with a plan to make the singer, whose name I learned was Spencer, mine.
I need to set myself apart from the other ladies, I thought. I’m going to bake him a pie.
Deciding on a buttermilk pie with a hint of nutmeg, I was also going to add a sprinkle of a very special ingredient – magic!
As a young girl with a colourful imagination, I’d often manifested my hopes and dreams by speaking them to the universe.
So I knew I just had to ask for what I wanted with a pure heart, and it would come to me.
And so many people said my pies were magic, it couldn’t hurt to use my superpower to help.
Rolling out the dough with Grandma’s rolling pin, I spoke out loud to the universe about what my future with Spencer would look like and all the fun we would have together.
Penning a love letter to Spencer on baking paper and signing off with my phone number, I placed it at the bottom of the tin and plaited the dough on top before sliding the pie in the oven.
Back at the club that night, a freshly baked pie in tow, I left the treat backstage in Spencer’s dressing room before enjoying his gig.
Walking through the car park after the show with my bestie Shana, a voice called out.
‘Did you bake me a pie?’ Spencer asked.
‘My phone number is in the pie,’ I told him before getting in the car.
A fortnight later, Spencer called to ask me on a date.
‘That pie was the best thing I’ve ever eaten,’ he said.
Calling Shana as soon as I got off the phone, I said, ‘The pie worked!’
It was like I’d cast a spell.
Meeting Spencer, then 31, for lunch one week later, we had so much fun.
Before we knew it, we were sharing our first kiss.
Believing in the magic of manifesting, and my homemade pies, Shana, then 26, was hopeful to find her soulmate too.
Meeting a lovely bloke David, 39, soon after, Shana was head over heels.
So as I rolled out the dough for a pecan pie with chocolate chips, Shana shared her hopes and dreams of finding love with David with the universe.
Shana took the pie to his place for dinner that night, and by the end of the date, he was smitten too.
They went on to marry one year later.
And I baked the same pie to use as their wedding cake!
Three years later, Spencer popped the question.
Of course I said yes!
Walking down the aisle towards my dream man on October 16, 1994, I couldn’t believe I’d manifested our love with a pie!
Over the years, I helped other loved ones manifest men with my sweet treats.
I called my special ability ‘kitchen magic’!
When I was 35, my niece, Haylie, then 13, started working in the bakery during her summer vacation.
She’d always loved baking with me.
But as she grew up and became an adult, she was worried if she’d ever find her perfect man.
So in 2014, when she was 29, with my guidance, Haylie baked a cherry pie.
‘You have to be really specific about what you want,’ I told her.
‘I want somebody who likes slow mornings… an Italian man with dark hair and green eyes,’ Haylie said.
‘I want that “I just can’t get enough of you” kind of love,’ she said, stirring in extra sugar with a touch of salt to balance it.
Working at a friend’s food truck a few months later, Haylie locked eyes with Zack – an Italian man with dark hair and green eyes, and he was every single thing she asked for via the magical cherry pie.
Dubbed ‘the pie lady’, I’m thrilled that my pies have also led six of my closest friends to their soulmates.
And after Spencer, baking is the love of my life.
I even dot vanilla essence and cinnamon behind my ears every morning, and get told I smell like a freshly baked pie.
We’ve been married for 29 years, and Spencer, now 67, still serenades me with love songs on the piano.
Baking found me love, and now my life is as sweet as pie!