The food blogging community is huge; thousands upon thousands of bloggers and in the years I’ve been involved I’ve built relationships with people in my own town, in cities all over our nation and in countries where I never expected to know anyone personally.
This week I was reminded of how connected we really are, just how small we can feel and how much we are impacted by each others lives.
One of our own, Jennifer Perillo, lost her husband Mikey on Sunday. A young, healthy man who died suddenly from a massive heart attack, quickly and with such suddenness there were no goodbyes, no last ‘I love you’ said between the spouses of many years who still loved each other so evidently. I saw Jennifer’s first tweet that evening and was concerned; only saying that ‘he was gone and her heart was broken into a million pieces.’ I knew she had a fractured relationship with her father and I struggled with trying to remember if he were still alive, assuming it must have been him. I never once considered it was Mikey. So the shock of the news the next morning hit hard. Many of us in this community have felt a sense of immense grief and overwhelming sadness just thinking about Jennie and her young daughters. I searched Jennifer’s site for others stories about Mikey and found one about him and his mother; discovering that he was an only child. My grief is compounded thinking about his mom losing her son, a good son.
This news has been hard not only out of love and concern for Jennifer and her two young daughters who now need to forge a different life, one without their loving husband and father, but as a reminder of the clear and present reality that tomorrow is not a given. I’m certain there have been more hugs and words of love between friends and families this week. I’m also certain they’ve been said with extra meaning; more awareness. In this saddest of all circumstances, I can only hope that Jennifer will feel the love that is being sent to her and shared because of her.
In a blog post that must have been the hardest of her young life, Jennifer answered the question we were all asking ourselves. How could we help? She shared that Mikey loved Peanut Butter pie and asked that we bake a pie for Mikey and so that’s what I, and so many others are doing. This is my pie for Mikey; a pie I’ve never made before but did at her request. The most difficult pie I’ve ever made; salted I fear with tears that were not a part of the recipe. I’ve asked my daughters to come share it with me today. They are the loves of my life and though we struggle at times for reasons that are beyond comprehension the fact is…I need them close. I need to see them and tell them how much I love them. For I have been profoundly reminded that tomorrow is not a given; we might not have more than today.
This piece? It’s for you Mikey.
- 8 ounces graham crackers
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (see below for how I made my own)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Add the graham crackers to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs.
- Pour melted butter into processor and pulse until thoroughly combined
- Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave.
- Pour chocolate over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula (my offset spatula was too long; I ended up using a spoon).
- Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.
- Stir in ⅓ of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream).
- Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan.
- Grate chocolate over the top or melt 1 oz chocolate with 1 Tbsp butter and drizzle over the top.
- Refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.
More friends, more pies…amazed at the love today:
- Running with Tweezers
- My Kitchen Addiction
- Sweet Tartlette
- Big Girls Small Kitchen
- Healthy Green Kitchen
- Gluten Free Girl and the Chef
- My Guilty Kitchen
- London Foodie in NY
- Tastes Better With Friends
- Food + Words
- Savour Fair
- Chocolate & Carrots
- My Baking Heart
- The Meaning of PIe
- Dula Notes
- Espresso and Cream
- Healthy Delicious
- Little Miss Dids
- Triology Edibles
- The Balanced Pastry Chef
- Sodium GIrl
- Weekly Greens
- Concrete Magnolia
- Black Girl Chef’s Whites
- Gluten Free Doctor