A Pie for Mikey… and Jennie

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie  - #APieForMikey

by Maria on August 14, 2011

This blog has been quiet for quite some time.  I’ve been telling people it’s in the midst of a perpetual redesign, and that’s true.  It’s still not finished, so I’m inviting you into my home before the remodel is complete.  But that’s okay.  Life is imperfect, and the real beauty of a blog is the ability to share and connect with others.  As always, it’s what’s under the surface that matters.

This became painfully, heartbreakingly clear this week when my friend Jennie lost her dear husband suddenly and brutally to a heart attack.  I’d never met Mikey, but from what I know, he was young, fit and a devoted husband and dad to their two girls, ages 8 and 3.  I’ve only met Jennie once, at the Food52 launch party, but we’ve been online friends for a couple of years.

Jennie is an extraordinary woman.  Warm, generous and courageous online and off.  A talented home cook who makes just about everything from scratch… from her famous ricotta cheese to Dijon mustard.  Dijon mustard!  She’s made it her life’s work to share this passion with others.  And she loves Mikey and those girls with that same fierce, unending passion.

As my friend Merry-Jennifer posted this week, “grief sucks.”  She’s right.  Yet, there can be beauty in grief.  Mikey’s death hit the food community hard, and these wonderful people stepped up in a big way.  The incredible outpouring of love and support for Jennie and her girls has been heartwarming and gratifying.

Somehow, Jennie was able to write a short post mid-week.  She said one of Mikey’s favorite desserts was her Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, and she’d been meaning to make it for him, but kept putting it off until tomorrow.  She asked her readers to make this pie last Friday, the day of Mikey’s memorial, and share it with people we love.

So we made pie.  Wes, Tim and I spent Friday evening making homemade whipped cream, folding it gently into a soft mixture of cream cheese and peanut butter, melting chocolate and spreading it carefully over the crumb crust.  We laughed as we bumped into each other in our cramped galley kitchen, a kitchen built for one, knowing that while this wasn’t just any pie, it really wasn’t about the pie.

We weren’t the only ones.  Jennie’s simple, heartfelt request became a movement, a symbol of love, life and support.  A way to do something when you feel helpless, hopeless and racked with the cruel, unvarnished, unfair hand life can deal. 

Hundreds of people made peanut butter pie these past few days.  People who know Jennie and her children, and will grieve with them in the days to come as they learn to live without their beloved Mikey; and people who have never met Jennie, nor even heard of her, until they spotted the hashtag #apieformikey on Twitter or Facebook.

It’s true, this blog has been in a state of perpetual redesign.  I’ve been allowing other priorities and commitments to interfere with putting it back out there.  Putting myself back out there.  As all writers and bloggers know, it can be challenging to share our stories, our recipes, our (my) lousy photos.  But it’s time.

Life is imperfect.  Every day is precious.  Do today what you might put off until tomorrow.  Hug your family and friends, tight.


LiztheChef August 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

So nice to see your blog. I have yet to make my pie – we were on vacation when Jennifer lost her husband. I can’t help but compare similar circumstances with my husband’s MI 6 months ago…but he lived. Our lives have been forever changed and we try to live every day to the fullest – with lots of hugs.

Sunchowder - Wendy Read August 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

Beautiful post and love the look of your blog. Well done! I too was so touched by Mikey’s death and the outpouring of love for Jennifer. And I too thought of Liz and the way that this must have touched her also. I love seeing all of Liz’s new recipes, tweeked for health! And yes, life is imperfect.

Maria August 16, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Thank you for commenting! Liz, I’ve thought of you this past week, too, and how your lives have changed since Larry’s MI. It’s great to be back in touch with both of you.

merry jennifer August 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm

This is so beautiful, Maria. So beautiful.

Maria August 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm

xoxo, MJ.

Jordana August 17, 2011 at 9:06 am

Beautiful post. Glad you’re back.

Randi August 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

This made me misty eyed. Lovely post Maria. I like the new design!

Winnie August 20, 2011 at 8:21 am

A wonderful wonderful post. So nice to see your new blog up and running, and hope to hear more from you very soon!

jennifer steinhauer August 26, 2011 at 4:47 pm

So glad to see you blogging here.

Quay Po Cooks August 31, 2011 at 11:11 am

You are a good friend to Jennie. You compassion and love shines through your pie. Jennie’s request for her fellow bloggers to make Mikey’s favorite pie and share it with love ones is a wake up call to set our priorities right. Life is so unpredictable!

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