Kevin Patrick Law - November 2020

The Great Pie Conspiracy of 1967 How the Supreme Court Settled Utah Pie Co. v. Continental Baking

Ah, the ‘60s! The decade of Beatles songs, civil rights battles, long flowing locks, and … pie conspiracy rings? As it turns out, yes. When we were digging through U.S. Supreme Court cases this fall, our team stumbled upon a delicious (and scandalous) case of dessert mayhem just in time for Thanksgiving: Utah Pie Co. v. Continental Baking. Until the early 1960s, a local bakery in Salt Lake City, Utah, called Utah Pie. Co. was thriving. It had a corner on the local market, and its pies were selling like … well … pies! Then, something dramatic happened. Three other pie companies arrived on the scene and started selling their frozen desserts at prices far below Utah Pie Co.’s, despite the fact that they were trucking their pies in from farther away. This struck the folks at Utah Pie Co. as suspicious. They were a family-run operation, and their bakery was struggling thanks to this shady competition. Eventually, they sued Continental Baking, Pet Milk, and Carnation Co., the three pie companies in question, claiming that their price slashing was a conspiracy intended to drive Utah Pie Co. out of business. According to Supreme Court records, there was more than just price slashing going on, too. The case syllabus reports, “Pet admitted sending a spy into [Utah Pie Co.’s] plant during its negotiations with Safeway, but denied using what it learned.” These practices caused prices to decline across the market!

As you’ve probably guessed, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Utah Pie Co., reversing a previous decision by the Court of Appeals. The justices declared there was plenty of evidence that illegal price discrimination had taken place. Utah Pie Co. emerged with the win on April 24, 1967, with plenty of time to battle its way back to the top for Thanksgiving. When you dig into a slice of pumpkin or pecan pie this holiday season, consider raising your fork to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thanks to its decision in ‘67, local businesses have one more buffer against the pricing practices of the big boys.


Cinnamon-Spiced Candied Sweet Potatoes

These candied sweet potatoes will make your family beg for more!

Ingredients •

4 lbs orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces, then cut lengthwise into 1-inch wedges • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed

• 1 tbsp kosher salt • 1/4 tsp ground cloves • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed • 4 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Place sweet potato wedges in a 4-quart baking dish. 3. Sprinkle sugar, salt, and cloves over sweet potatoes. 4. Dot with butter and place cinnamon sticks around sweet potatoes. 5. Bake, turning every 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and the liquid is syrupy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. 6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. 7. Discard cinnamon sticks and serve.


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