The first slice of pie is always the hardest to get out of the pan. Always. It crumbles and smooshes and collapses on the plate. Very disappointing, especially when standing at the head of the table serving a carefully constructed pie to eager guests. I finally had a "Duh!" moment and realized the obvious solution: the sacrificial slice.
You might argue that the first piece of pie is always the sacrificial slice — I usually set this sad and broken (though still tasty!) piece of pie off to the side to serve myself once the more beauteous slices have been passed out.
But a far more economical solution is to cut just the tiniest sliver of pie as your "first slice" and then cut the rest of the pie into normal-sized wedges. This solves the problem of getting under the slice and letting you lift it cleanly from the pan, but it doesn't waste an entire serving in the process.
This approach works not only for pies, but for brownies, casseroles, and anything else that's hard to get out of the pan on the first go-round.
Oh, and also? The sacrificial slice that gets set aside in favor of grander, more show-worthy pieces? If you want to hide it somewhere and rename it "midnight snack," I won't tell a soul.
(Image: Emma Christensen)