Weekend Links: Food Blogging Community and a Pie for Mikey

On Friday I baked a peanut butter pie with two eager assistants: Noah and Mateo. Yesterday, we took it to my Aunt Jenny’s country home and shared it together. As our forks cut through the cool creaminess of the pie, I shared why I had brought over a pie for dessert.

So, what is the story behind a peanut butter pie? For me, it started last month at Big Summer Potluck, when I met Jennifer Perillo, of In Jennie’s Kitchen. Actually, Jennie and I have been friends online for quite some time. We have similar philosophies when it comes to feeding our families and connect on many levels.

Whether she knows it or not, Jennie impacted me in a big way at BSP. At the opening dinner, we sat down on a sofa together with our plates, crossed our legs and started chatting like old friends. She spoke so positively into my life, about my work, blogging….motherhood, that I was blessed beyond measure. As I have tremendous respect for Jennie, it was pivotal encouragement for me to hear at this point in my blogging career.

For the rest of the weekend, every time I spotted Jennie, she was either throwing back her head and laughing, or chatting up a group of people with her adorable Brooklyn accent. She exuded life, grace, humility and what we call here in Québec – Joie de vivre.

Last Sunday, exactly one week after I said goodbye to Jennie, I saw this tweet from her.

I knew. I just knew.

I found out the next morning from Kim that Jennie’s husband of eighteen years had passed away from a heart attack. There was no time to say goodbye for Jennie or her two young daughters. Someone who had spoken so positively into my life had just been dealt an unimaginable blow on hers.

What can one do? I wanted desperately to do something, other than wipe my eyes and try to get through my Monday. I knew that Kim would let me know how I could help, and that Shauna was organizing help as well. But what? I watched the video Jennie had posted – precious, precious memories – and waited.

Finally, on Tuesday, Jennie put out a request. In a beautiful, moving post, she asked us to bake pie.

“For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”

So perfect. When friends and loved ones are scattered around the globe, the one thing we all can do is head to the kitchen and bake something to share with loved ones.

So that’s what we did.

Astonishingly, nearly one thousand food bloggers did just the same.

On Friday, August 12, my Twitter stream was a torrent of love and support for Jennie, all connected with the hashtag #apieformikey. Mikey, Jennie’s husband, was being honored by hundreds and it was incredible to witness.

Nearly 1000 people joined the Facebook event and posted photos and links of their pies, CNN shared the story, the Food Network tried to keep up with all the links — and the pies just kept coming.

Tastespotting devoted their entire front page to peanut butter pie, every shape, size and style. A beautiful sight.

Of course, it wasn’t about pie. OK, so it was a little bit about pie (especially for my kids, who never could have dreamed anything so wonderful existed), but it was so much more than cookies and cream.

Each post was an expression of love for the Perillo family. Each one was beautiful.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Jenny encouraged us to hug our families – no matter how goofy they are.
  • Kristen delivered a poignant post that was real, raw, and utterly honest. I cried some more.
  • Ashley was inspired to create a dinner date with her husband –and inspired me to make some ‘alone’ time for Danny and I very soon.
  • Ethan shared his pie with a woman’s shelter, even more proof that the guy’s got a heart of gold.
  • Zoe created the most beautiful milk chocolate peanut butter pie I have ever laid eyes on. Points for that.
  • Cheryl wrote a moving tribute to her husband.

And the eloquent posts got on and on, many with original recipes, — all in the beautiful spirit of community.

Perhaps my favorite tribute Jennie and Mikey was an exquisitely beautiful video tribute done by the stellar White on Rice team, Todd and Diane. Just amazing.

Today, I’m fiercely proud of my food blogging community. You guys rock my world.

If you would like to bake a Creamy Peanut Butter pie for Mikey, for someone you love, or just because it looks irresistible (a valid reason!), you can find the recipe over at In Jennie’s Kitchen. Be sure to leave her a comment while you’re over there.

Jennie, we love you and will be here for you for a long, long time.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Tank you for this gorgeous pie, and have a graet week!!!

  2. peanut butter pie… great idea, my kids will love it

  3. Beautiful post, Aimee. I’m so lucky to be part of such an incredibly supportive group that is simply overflowing with kindred spirits. xo

  4. What a tragic story, but a beautiful thought. I wish I’d known; I would have baked and hugged and cried like my life depended on it.

  5. That is a beautiful post.

  6. Very sweet Aimee. Love seeing your beautiful kids.

  7. Beautiful words and beautiful pie Aimee.

  8. Beautiful post Aimee, and your pie sounds delicious!

  9. Beautiful. Love the picture of your kiddos helping out! I was also surprised and impressed by the number of people who came together to show their love and support–but I should know better. The food blogging community is full of people who just plain love to share and give. That’s what food is all about. 🙂

  10. This post said it all. And I’m so glad you had a chance to make it with your kids and share it with family at your aunt’s. It’s beautiful!

    This community is amazing, beyond words. Sometimes tragedy brings out the best in people, or maybe it just opens our eyes a little wider at the things that are already there.

  11. Being in my first of food blogging, I had no idea this online community could come together so powerfully. It’s because of people like you and your lovely peanut butter pie that this strength of online community exists. Thank you.

  12. I meant to say “being in my first year of food blogging…”. Oiy, do I need to proofread more often!!

  13. It has been so incredible this weekend to see the food blogging community come together like this, love your post. xoxo

  14. Thank you so much! What you, and all the food bloggers did for Jennie was so beautiful! I was unable to make a pie, but shared every post I saw on Twitter. My heart has been sad this week, I have hugged my husband a lot this week. The food blog community truly is a beautiful group of people! Love and Hugs, Terra

  15. It’s been a week of highs and lows, for sure.
    It doesn’t seem entirely relevant, but it should be said that this pie also tastes amazing!

  16. I didn’t “meet” Ms. Perillo until after this, when I saw the tweets of condolence but I have been so moved by the support, and I am so proud to be a new member of the food blogging community.. these are some AWESOME people. I made a pie for Mikey and shared it with my family… they already think I’m a dork, now they KNOW it, watching me cry over pie.

  17. It’s a beautiful post Aimée! Sometimes we forgot what is the most important thing in life. Sharing the love through baking is certainly one of them!

  18. Amazing. The love and kindness from this community is staggering and I am very proud to be a part of it.
    My pie for Mikey:

  19. Every time I read another beautiful post, I am flooded with mixed emotions over and over again. So incredibly saddened by this tragedy and so incredibly proud to be part of such a strong-knit community. Blessings to you for such a lovely post. Blessings to Jennie and her girls for their unfathomable loss.

  20. Wonderfully written post. Your pie looks delicious and your kids are adorable.

  21. Jessica Newell says

    This is such a sweet post to read today. Its a amazing how one small gesture can impact sooo many. Thank you for sharing – both this post and your love for Jenny and her family!

    Just filled my day with more joy 🙂

  22. Just a note to say I adore you, your family and your posts.
    thank you for sharing this so that many people like me can be a part of something so much bigger.

    I am going to hug my hubby now. thanks.

  23. Love the way the food bloggers are there to support one another. Lovely post. I could use Noah and Mateo to help me out too. They so cute. Great photos.

  24. I don’t know you or Jennie, but I think both of you sound like amazing women. You inspired me to make (a different version of) peanut butter pie for someone I love.
    Thank you (that doesn’t seem like enough to say) for sharing your story.

  25. I did not really pay attention to this post when it first came out, but have since come across the story in multiple places. I had never heard of Jennie before, but I cried as I watched the video of her husband’s last dance with his daughter. What a beautiful outpouring of love in the wide world of blogging!

  26. I really love this blog! I have a blog where I talk about fashion, design, and food sometimes, but this makes me realize I need to target in on what I really love, which is Food, Cooking, and The Food Network!

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