I didn’t have pie planned for the blog this week. My one week of loosey goosey kitchen meanderings before things got deep again was charted out for marinated tomatoes and fig salads and such. Sunday, some static reached the main signal and things started shorting out. I felt like a robot. Something was interfering with my attention vibes and I didn’t know what or why.
Sunday nights are always late nights at our house – the nights we get less sleep than we really should. I’m not sure if its a holdover from childhood or trepidation for the week to come but we always feel the power of the force. Something wasn’t right. A random tweet by Jennifer Perillo sent up a flare that gave me an all-over shiver. An all too familiar shiver.
“He’s gone…and my heart is shattered into a million pieces.”
I took a deep breath…and sent a quiet thought into the world that said “Who is she talking about? PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE HER HUSBAND SHE’S TALKING ABOUT.” The next breathe I took…I exhaled deeply and then said out loud…”SHIT.”. I have known Jennie through the blog world and conference world and I honestly don’t know if she’d pick me out of a line-up…or me her. I know she’s a dynamic, smart, incredible lady. She’s a devoted family woman and doting mother. An advocate for food and cooking and eating meals at home. You know what? She’s still those things. She is just struggling to do those things while mourning the loss of her husband, Mikey, who suddenly passed away this weekend of a heart attack.
A million pieces. A trillion million pieces.
I’ve been in her shoes. I haven’t walked in them – I’m not married and don’t have a family – but I’ve tried them on. Unexpected loss – the loss of my mother – rattled me to the core and I didn’t know which end was up. You know what ended up being my emotional compass? The place I could turn to find my way? My blog. The Internet. I said that night that I felt the groundswell building for Jennie and her family. I’ve been there. My mom died suddenly…and I had people as far away as New Zealand checking up on me. Could they feed me? Tend to me directly? No. What they could do is place an emotional compress on my wound that was hemorrhaging. Let me know it was going to be okay. Did it feel like it right away? No. It took a minute..but damnit I appreciated every word…and praised God or whoever was watching over me for giving me this gift of guardian angels I’d never met before. I took comfort in the folks I’d never laid eyes on…and that is where we all are now. We’re gathering around Jennie Perillo to lift her up.
There’s also pie. Really wonderful, meaningful, delicious pie.
I made a peanut butter pie because…it made sense. It was the thing she asked us to do. It was the damn most emotional pie I’ve ever made. There’s other stuff – really heavy stuff – happening in my life and I can’t even talk about that here. What I can talk about is Jennie…and her family…and her daughters…and the family she has here on the Internet. I know the power of those people – they can lift you up. We can lift you up. We will help as much as we can…and not just now. For the long run. All the damn memories and the desire to make things and the times and the moments – we’ll all be here and we’ll lift you up as much as we can. Tell us and we’ll do. Because that’s what we do. We’re here for you…as a community…and as I felt that swell around Jennie like I did around me…and Alice…and other people who have suffered loss so openly and publicly…we’re yours and you’re ours. Thank goodness…and in my head…I drop to my knees and thank whoever guided me here to share in the power of those around me.
The pie is wonderful. It really is – one of the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I took a snapshot of my coffee cup I was drinking out of while I was taking pie photos…and…to me…that’s the most important shot. Believe in people. We’re here. We’re all still here. Use us to lean on. Cry on. Beat your fists into our shoulders. Bake. Cook. Laugh. Show us what’s happening…and tell us what you need. We’re here for you like you’ve been there for us.
I almost didn’t make this pie because I thought there would be 1862327352 people making pies in honor of Jennie. What would mine mean? Mine means as much as all the others. There can’t be nearly enough peanut butter pies. It means deliciousness. Care. Tenderness. Hope. Concern. Nourishment. All the thing Jennie needs…and Mikey needs…and we all need in times like these.
Almost No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie – serves 8-10 – from a recipe found on AllRecipes.com
– Combine 1 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup butter or margarine; press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Cool.
– In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Whip the cream, and fold into the peanut butter mixture.