Mikey’s Peanut Butter Pie

photo of Mikey's Peanut Butter Pie

”He’s gone, and my heart is shattered in a million pieces.”—Jennifer Perillo

I was reading this sentence and fighting tears on Monday. I desperately hoped that it didn’t mean the only thing that it could mean. Only a little more scrolling about confirmed that Jennifer Perillo, a well known food blogger, writer, and mother of two had just informed us that in a flash, in a cruel and unforeseen flash, her husband had died of a heart attack. Mikey is Jennifer’s husband.

We all have a new kind of community that transcends geography and family. It is strange to admit that I found myself swallowing hard to chase away tears and turning my head away from the humans who actually sat in my presence because I was feeling profound grief for the loss experienced by a woman whom I have never met personally and with whom I have only enjoyed a few congenial exchanges online…on Twitter.

And, I was softened and weakened already as I had spent the prior two days awaiting the inevitable news that my husband’s and my dear friend, Steave, was about to succumb to a two year battle with cancer. Death has its own time table and it waits for no one. Neither Pitts nor I were in Texas to be there and help walk our friend and his wonderful wife to this particular door. Not five minutes after reading about Jennifer’s stunning loss, Steave’s wife informed me that he too had died mere minutes before. His journey had been long and arduous. His passing was neither sudden nor unexpected. But, in a fickle moment, both of these women had lost their life companion.

My husband was somewhere in the Pecos mountains, unreachable, leading a cadre of high school boys on a week’s long hike, but in that moment I thanked God with all of my might that I still had him. And I grieved for these two women who would never see their husbands on this side of life again. It is truly inconceivable until it happens to you, I suppose. I cannot fully fathom it.

photo of ingredients for peanut butter pieJennifer, inundated with well wishes for herself and her daughters, somehow found it in herself to post a recipe on her website for this pie. Her simple wish was that all of us make this pie and share it with people that we love. She asked that we all take a moment to celebrate and acknowledge the gifts of love and family, because it is promised only in the immediate moment, and can be taken away at any time.

So, that is what I did. I made Mikey’s Pie to share with my family and with you. You will find the recipe for Mikey’s Pie on Jennifer’s website. It is her recipe and I’m not inclined to copy it here for some reason. If you want to make this pie for your people, go visit her website and read her words and look at her photos. They are profoundly touching. I know that her husband and my friend are alright. I believe with every fiber of my being that one can approach the grave “like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lie(s) down to pleasant dreams,” as envisioned by William Cullen Bryant. It is the living who have to slog through the grief.

I have certainly explored the happy side of food. I have given you things to make in times of celebration and joy, and things to make just because they make you feel good. I haven’t talked much about cooking to soothe pain, and baking to impart compassion and condolences. Food certainly has an elegiacal role, as well. I’m sorry to write about such sadness on a blog that is usually a happy place. But I was a bit sad, and you are my friends so I knew you would understand. And, pie always makes me feel a bit better.

photo of how to make peanut butter pieSo, hold your people close. Show them that you love them. Celebrate your good fortune and send out a prayer for my friend and for Jennifer Perillo. I know several of my loyal readers have lost dear spouses, as well. I know others of you have suffered other, equally eviscerating losses. Know that I have been thinking about you this week, too.



  1. Suzanne H says

    I lost my mom to a sudden heart attack 4 years ago. It’s sometimes hard to remember that we grieve only because we love(d).

  2. Kelly says

    So true, Suzanne. So very true. I’m so sorry for your loss of your mom. That is a tough one for me to imagine. It hurts to even think about it.

  3. says

    Although I read Jennie’s blog from time to time, it was only because I follow you that I learned of her so very tragic loss. I’m a little late but I made the pie. It was delicious and I hugged my husband very, very hard.

  4. Marion says

    Thanks for sharing. It was especially touching for me – I am a chaplain and I had 3 deaths in the last 24 hours ( I was on-call Sunday), one of them especially hard as I sat with the 58 year old woman’s twenty-something son. I know we are not promised a set time but it’s so easy to think life will go on as it is forever. Your post was poignant for me and helped me process my 4:55 a.m. experience. Blessings.

  5. Kelly says

    Thank you, Marion…you have had a tough couple of days. You do such important work. I just returned from my friends service an was touched not only by how important it is to truly live every day, but also by how important it is to be aware of all the wonderful and caring people who remain in these families, natural and assembled, who come together for and after such tragedies.

    I have heard from a lot of friends who took the time to make the pie and take a moment to connect with their loved ones and truly appreciate the gift of time and love. This has been a very poignant week. I’m really thankful that Jennifer Perillo was brave enough and open enough to share her story with all of us. It certainly helped me process my own grief at the loss of our dear friend.

    Thank you for your kind words.

  6. Lori says

    I am so sorry for your and Pitt’s loss. I can’t tell you how touched I was when I read your post. It was so beautifully written. What a lovely tribute to a friend that I know you both will miss.


  1. […] Love Pie is an ice cream pie that was inspired by a wonderful woman in Fulton, Missouri named Karen Mertens. She shared a recipe that was shared with her…and it became Love Pie. Karen is the mother of our dear friends Doug and Courtney Mertens. My life has been enriched immeasurably by knowing the Mertens family. One of my most heartfelt pie posts was about Jennifer Perillo, a fellow food blogger, who lost her husband in an instant earlier this year. Her tribute pie to her husband was copied and posted by bloggers all over the country. It is and always will be Mikey’s Peanut Butter Pie. […]

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