Gooseberry fervor

In yesterday’s Dining with Denise newsletter, I answered a question from a reader name Elizabeth who wanted to know where she could find gooseberry pie, which she said was easy to get in Missouri but not so much in Kansas.

I called around to all the popular pie purveyors in Wichita: Spears, Jeanne’s Cafe, Fat Ernie’s, even Carriage Crossing in Yoder. None of them have gooseberry, and none knew who did.

After the newsletter was sent out on Wednesday afternoon, I was deluged with gooseberry e-mail. Apparently, Elizabeth is not the only person interested in the sweet-and-tart dessert.

A reader named Linda wrote to point out that MarCon pies in Washington, Kan., sells gooseberry pies, and they’re even available for order online.

Debbie wrote to say that she and her husband recently had good gooseberry pie at the Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls. I confirmed this report with a phone call this morning. The cafe almost never runs out of gooseberry pie, the excited lady on the phone told me.

And a reader named Marci told me that the Bontrager family sells baked goods, including gooseberry pies, at the Kansas Grown Farmers’ Market at 21st & Ridge.

I also received a nice e-mail from Glaine Russell, a local foodie, reminiscing about his gooseberry days.

“The question on gooseberry pie brought back many fond memories.  My wife is from Carthage as well as her parents and grandparents.  Gooseberry pie was a favorite around her house as she was growing up.  I was born near Gainesville, Mo., and moved to Wichita as a small boy.  The only time I got gooseberry pie was when we visited my grandparents and we helped grandma pick the berries.  But I digress. The best I ever ate was made by my wife’s mother in the form of a cobbler.  Of course it would not be complete without some homemade ice cream to top it off.”

Attention pie makers in Wichita: I think I know a flavor that might be a good seller…