It’s Pie Week.
Most of the time I am so jealous of other food bloggers, because they always have just the loveliest stories to tell about the dough beneath their hands and the stained recipe cards that have been passed down through the generations.
And that is for good reason. The kitchen is the place that keeps our secrets and helps us to tell our stories.
What I’m sharing today isn’t those things. It isn’t pretty. Or part of the life that you want. But for better or for worse, it is bound up in this pie.
Last week, before I headed up to the cabin that my sorority sisters and I had taken over, I mapped out our meal plan for the week. What we would eat when. Where Pie Week fit into all of it. On Saturday afternoon, I texted Marcus and asked him to transfer the pie crust I had already made from the freezer to the fridge.
On Sunday morning, I left that cabin, and I drove straight to the hospital. You see, last week one of my best friends from high school had a seizure and when they ran the MRI, they discovered a mass in his brain.
There was nothing else to do but run towards. And so over the course of five hours we talked and laughed and read and followed the severe storms trailing over Illinois. Some of it was so painfully ordinary that it hurt.
There was a point during the morning, where we were allowed to escape the room. He in the wheelchair, me pushing. It’s hard to be trapped in a room for days on end. The same white walls. The same hallway shuffling. The same cable TV. It is mind-numbing.
But before we left on our hall pass, the nurse on duty instructed us to dial **9 on any hospital phone if he started to have another seizure.
I gave her a look of abject horror because (1) It truly had not crossed my mind that there could be another seizure, (2) I have no idea as to where she got the impression that this sort of shit show would happen near a phone and (3) I am still 100% certain that my first response would be to shriek at the top of my lungs.
So with that piece of encouragement, we set out on our merry way, weaving through the lobbies, walking through hallways we probably were not supposed to be in, and admiring the fish in the aquariums.
All of it was surreal and horrifically wrong because This Is Not Supposed To Happen To People Our Age. Or to Humans I Have Known Since I Was A Pup.
When I got home, on that late Sunday afternoon, in a fit of mania I ran four miles, washed and folded my laundry, cleaned the bathroom, actioned an entire meal for Marcus and my parents and baked Grandma’s Chocolate Pie from my one and only favorite, The Homesick Texan.
I have no experience making custard-based pies or meringue-anything outside of those pseudo-chocolate chip cookies that are so lovely and Kosher for Passover. None of that particularly mattered.
I mixed the sugar and the cocoa and the eggs. Watched the pot and stirred occasionally until the custard reached the appropriate thickness. Whipped the egg whites into fluffy meringues and baked it until the snowy white top of my pie had been replaced with a caramel-colored one.
Just me, following instructions and trusting in the process.
This slice of pie, is my tribute to escapism. To 25 minutes of distraction. To a moment where I could hit the pause button.
As with all theme weeks, the more the merrier. Maybe this pie isn’t your perfect slice. Or you just want to drool over your keyboard at work. Want more? Check out what my fellow beauties have been baking!