Earlier this week, I found out that a fellow Yahoo! Motherboard member, Jennifer Perillo, lost her husband Mikey in a sudden and unexpected way. The blogging community responded immediately; Twitter was flooded with messages of condolence and love, and there's talk of a scholarship fund for her children.
Yesterday was Mikey's memorial service, and to commemorate his live and the love they shared, Jennifer asked that people bake Mikey's favorite peanut butter pie and share it with their loved ones. No flowers, no donations, just pie.
Now, I love baking, but I've avoided doing it all summer because what I bake, I eat, and what I eat ends up on my ever-expanding hips. And even when I do bake, I tend to choose easy-to-prepare recipes, as in recipes where you buy a box from a supermarket and add oil and eggs to it. Jennifer's recipe seemed pretty simple, but I knew I'd end up with far too many calories and far too many dishes to wash.
But how could I refuse such a heartfelt request? I bought the ingredients and got ready to make the kids the treat of their lives.
Things started going wrong almost immediately.
Step 1 involves making a cookie crumb crust and spreading a layer of melted chocolate over it. My cookie crumbs stick together to form a crust, and the chocolate refused to spread in a nice, smooth layer.
Step 2 involves whipping up some heavy cream "until stiff peaks form", before folding in cream cheese, peanut butter and some other good stuff. I could only manage gentle peaks.
After the requisite 3-hour refrigeration, I unclasped the springform pan and unmolded the pie -- only to have half the crust fall out.
Okay, it wasn't the best-looking pie in the world. But The Pea and I had a lot of fun making it together, and the whole family loved it. It tasted like something between a Snickers bar and a Reese's peanut butter cup. Even Alfie, who hates peanut butter, said it was delicious.
I told the kids why we were having peanut butter pie, and we all talked about how lucky we were to be together. Losing a dad or a husband or a wife is not the most cheerful dessert-time conversation, but I needed to talk to the kids about the importance of appreciating , and I needed to let them know that if anything ever happened to either Alfie or me, there would always be someone to care for them and to love them.
We ended the evening watching the final two episodes of So You Think You Can Dance, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the contestants' amazing moves. The kids went to bed late, but how could we send them to bed without knowing who ended up as America's Favorite Dancer? After they were in bed, Alfie and I spent ages cleaning up the kitchen, which looked like a war zone scattered with chocolate cookie crumbs and peanutty smudges.
I was right -- too many calories and too many dirty dishes. But it was totally worth it. Thank you, Jennifer, for reminding everyone of what's important.
I'm actually a day late putting up my post. But somehow I don't think Jennifer or Mikey would hold it against me, because I turned my laptop off when I started making the pie at 4PM, and kept it off to spend the rest of the evening with the people I love.
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