The Pie Lady of Millersburg

MILLERSBURG, Ky. -- Busy travelers may speed right through Millersburg as they drive US 68, but for people in the know, a certain banner is like a stop sign.

It displays the mathematical sign for pi and if you stop, you might just meet the Pie Lady.

Mary Lou Rankin makes fried apple pies in her small kitchen behind the building that used to house her family's hardware store.

She first sold her pies at a bake sale to benefit the local fire department. That was 40 years ago and people have been asking for them ever since.

"They do want to get my recipe," she said. "But I don't give out my recipe. If that want to pay for it, that's another thing."

These are hand-held pies, made with dried apples and a secret mixture of spices.

Mary Lou can barely turn around as she makes the turnovers, but a little corner in her kitchen is all she needs to make her magic.

Her son has an art studio in the old store, but he knows when people come up to the window, more often than not, they're looking at his mother's hand-made sign advertising pies.

"I would say it's 80 percent pies... 20 percent art," said Frosty Rankin.

"Mom adds a secret ingredient.-- love. And you can't get that at McDonald's."

So how famous are the pies? She's made them for former Governor Steve Beshear and jockey Pat Day, and once sold 53 pies to a busload of day-trippers from Jessamine County.

"I got on the bus and felt like a celebrity," she said. "They were taking my picture and shaking my hand and getting autographs."

Mary Lou is 87 now and has now intention of putting up the skillet.

"I enjoy all of it, " she said. "It's keeping me busy and on my feet and doing or I would probably just sit down in a chair and ,first thing you'd know, I'd be in a nursing home."

If you visit Mary Lou's kitchen, the pies are three dollars... the conversation is priceless.


There are no set hours for getting pies, but Mary Lou plans to sell them at the old hardware store on Main Street every Saturday between now and Christmas, along with jamcakes and other baked goods.

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