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Making Dallas Even Better

Kessler Pie Co. Bakes Handmade Pies in Oak Cliff

71-year-old Armida Ortega has been baking since she was 12. “I started making cakes for my family, and then pies. I would always bake for the holidays,” she says. We’re standing in the middle of Ortega’s kitchen at her North Oak Cliff home. An enormous granite island is covered in colorful pies. I count seven. The room doesn’t smell like how I expected it to. Rather than being filled with sweetness, the air is thick with a familiar and savory scent. Is that pizza?

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Dallasites Share Their Freaky Food Phobias

I don’t remember how or when the fear of fruit stickers crept into my life. But I’ve had an irrational fear of accidentally eating a sticker since I was very young. The thought of biting into a crisp apple or ripe tomato and getting a tacky piece of paper stuck in my teeth — or worse, throat — makes me cringe. My arms are filling up with goosebumps as I’m writing this. My phobia is so bad that my husband has to remove all of the stickers from our fruits and vegetables before putting them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer or glass bowls on the kitchen counter.

I’ve shared my aversion with many people, and it’s usually met with a “If you think that’s weird, then listen to this!” So, in honor of Halloween, to air the skeletons in our pantries, I asked a handful of Dallas chefs, restaurateurs, food writers, publicists, and photographers to share their deepest and darkest food phobias.

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