“Food Is Too Love” or “Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey”

There is more to food than just fuel for the body.  It is history, memories and despite what Jenny Craig may tell you food is love.  I have witnessed this in unbelievable exposition this past week.

Last weekend I saw this tweet by fellow food blogger Jennifer Perillo:

He’s gone. Any my heart is shattered in a million pieces.

I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant but something inside me was hurting.  Soon enough word spread across the food blogosphere that Jennifer’s husband Mikey had died suddenly of a heart attack.  My gut was right.

I’ve never met Jennifer in person.  We’ve tweeted back and forth a few times but that’s it for personal contact.  But I have read her blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen and her work for Food52.  Because of that I was aware of Mikey and his importance in her life.  I don’t know what other successes Mikey had in his brief life but I know that he married his high school sweetheart, fathered two beautiful daughters and created a happy home for all.  That’s about as successful as a man can ever hope to be.

Like every other food blogger I am heartbroken at her loss.  With tears welling in my big ol’ Southern boy eyes I watched a video Jennie posted on her site of Mikey dancing with one of his precious daughters, the post was entitled “One Last Dance.”

I know, right?

There are many in our circle and all of us are driven by a passion for food but to the unindoctrinated it must seem like a quirky obsession based solely on tasting something yummy.  But food is so much more than that.  It is about friendship and tradition and family and as cliche as it may sound, love.  No matter our cultural, political, spiritual or ethnic differences we all have to eat.  It is one of the few common bonds among all mankind.

I saw the absolute best of what this passion can provide this week.  Food blogger after food blogger after food blogger took to their laptops to lift Jennie’s spirits, to support her and her family and to share their memories of Mikey.  Foodies from around the world are signing up to send the Perillo family homemade meals spread out evenly over the next year so they don’t all come at once.  That’s powerful stuff but it doesn’t end there.

TasteSpotting Peanut Butter Pies for MikeyRemembering Mikey Perillo has gone viral.  On the day Mikey was laid to rest, the food porn site TasteSpotting dedicated the entire front page of their site to pictures of Mikey’s favorite dessert, Peanut Butter Pie, 35 photos in all.  A special Facebook page has been set up just so everyone can share their Peanut Butter Pie recipes, memories and share in a virtual group hug.  In doing research for my review of Sugar High I ventured to the Food Network site.  In the sidebar on the right is a widget that lists the day’s “Recently Commented On” posts on the FN site.  Four of the top 5 included the words “Peanut Butter Pie.”  I clicked on the link and found this:

Food Network Peanut Butter Pie For MikeyThis post is dedicated to our fellow food blogger Jennifer Perillo, of In Jennie’s Kitchen. Her husband died suddenly and Jennie’s request of the world was to make a peanut butter pie to give to someone you love. Peanut Butter Pie was Mikey’s favorite and in his honor, Food Network is sharing one of our favorite recipes with you.

My heart is saddened for a family that by all rights I have never met but in the ether of the universe I consider myself a part of.  When fate pricks one of us we all bleed.  That, my friends, is the power of love as manifested, at least this time, through food.

As I step outside right now to enjoy the Perseid Meteor Shower I know my thoughts will wander.  I’ll think of Mikey gone so soon and of the wife and children now without their rock.  I’ll think of another food blogger, Heather of Heather in SF who recently lost her father.  I’ll think of the mortality of those I love and how I should let them know I love them while I can still see their face light up at hearing those magical words.  And maybe we’ll share a slice of Peanut Butter Pie, for Mikey.

Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Stuart Reb Donald
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 3 hours
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 ready-made chocolate cookie (Oreo) pie crust
  • 1 pint dark chocolate ice cream
  • 1 pint peanut butter ice cream
  • Mini marshmallows to cover the top
Instructions
  1. Set chocolate ice cream out for 45 minutes to an hour, long enough to soften partially.
  2. With a spoon spread roughly half of the pint into the bottom of the pie crust. Place the pie into the freezer and do what you want with the remaining chocolate ice cream. Move the peanut butter ice cream from the freezer to a counter.
  3. After 45 minutes to an hour the pie should been frozen and the peanut butter ice cream softened. Layer half the pint of peanut butter ice cream on top of the frozen chocolate ice cream and return to freezer for at least one hour.
  4. When you are ready to serve top the pie with enough marshmallows to cover the pie.
  5. Taking a chef’s torch or using your oven’s broiler setting toast the marshmallows to taste.
  6. Slice and eat.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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