I promise I don't just bake sweet things all day every day, but lately I've been drawn to the kitchen for lots of reasons surpassing the usual hunger pangs. A couple months before Christmas I came across this story and it drew me in immediately. It was one of those moments where, even though it happened four years ago and I was unfamiliar with the author, I was taken in the moment I read her beautiful, heartbreaking words. Jennie used to make this pie for her husband before he died suddenly, and she asked that her readers make it for their loved ones in his honor.
After watching videos of the pie being made and reading lots of social media outpourings of love (#pieformikey), I called my parents sobbing into the phone about how I wished I could make them all pies. I'm sure they hung up the phone like, "Yo, Mack is PMSing something fierce," but at least while I was on the line they agreed that they, too, wished they could enjoy a homemade pie. When I got home for Christmas and suddenly felt defeated by my impersonal shopping lists and the lack of thought that went into my gifts for my family this year, I remembered the pie. My sister drove me to Publix and I searched the aisles for all things peanut butter and chocolate.
I followed the recipe exactly, even down to the freshly squeezed lemon, and even though I didn't actually eat any of it (it has approximately five different forms of dairy in it) it was gone in a matter of minutes. I heard it was pretty damn good, but even if it wasn't, I bet they would've liked it anyway. Connecting with stories and creating things with my hands are two of my favorite things ever. Baking something--especially something as decadent and superfluous as pie--with the thought of someone else present throughout the whole magical process feels like the perfect way to say:
"Hey, I love you, you know."