Gratitude Friday 7/30/21 – Blueberry Pie to Heal the World
“See that's what people don't get about food. It's never the food, it's the love that goes into making it. That's what's important.” ― Sarah Strohmeyer
Sometimes it really is the simple things in life. Time with friends and family, and a good meal. When I reflect back, it is these things I recall over the decades. My mom made these soft-shell tacos that were a staple dish of good times growing up. Julie’s mom made a mean leg of lamb. She knew I loved it so much she made it special for me every birthday, and we used to drive out to Bedford PA, it would be a nice family time with the Miller clan. Julie makes so many amazing dishes it is hard to choose from. She is an artist, and her creativity carries into the kitchen. I would be hard pressed to name a single savory dish that rises above the rest, there are a dozen that would vie for favorite.
As far as food, I would go savory over sweet any day of the week. But there is one desert that rules them all, the blueberry pie, but not just any blueberry pie. A Julie Blueberry Pie. Julie has been researching variations and her current iteration is nonpareil. It is her own interpretation of a series of recipes, several schools of blueberry pie making that came together in this pastry delight. It is not simple. It takes her about six hours from start to finish. She typically makes them in the summer, as this is when blueberries are best. It is also of course, hot in the summer, so it is not the most pleasant time to be in a kitchen. So the pies are a bit of an annual thing, a special occasion pie that takes a lot of effort.
Most of the pies Julie makes have been for sharing. A few times over the years she made them for
me to share with my coworkers when I ran a treatment program. She baked a few for when my program staff would go on what was called program evaluation out on a ridge at a sanctuary on the Appalachian trail. She has also made them for special company or when we would go out to dinner at friends’ homes. Suffice to say, others know of this amazing pie, which I have called Julie’s Blueberry Pie of the Gods. I joke about not sharing, but the truth is the sharing makes it even more special. You can taste the love baked into it, carefully folded in with the blueberries and other ingredients. Looking back, I associate these pies with times spent with good friends and cherished colleagues and seeing others appreciate the amazing culinary artwork of my better half. She makes delectable pie, but even more importantly Julie makes events special. She always has. Julie has a gift for making times special.
Notably, this year there was a second summer pie - a rare event, worthy of celebration in and of itself. The first one she made a few weeks back; we took it to dinner to share with some friends. The second one, we ate on Sunday with a friend at our dining room table as we talked about music and times gone by. It was a wonderful day, made even more special because Julie wanted it to be so, which is why she took the time and the heat in the kitchen to prepare her wonderous pie. The only thing I am good at in the kitchen is washing dishes which I am grateful to do. There are leftovers, or more accurately past tense, were.
Sharing food has at the heart of most, if not all cultures, there is record of it going back at least a half million years in human history. And we know that food releases neurotransmitters and can change our mood. It is easy to see why sharing a dinner table with others is so central to the human experience. One of the things I was pleasantly surprised to find out is that blueberries can help take the blue out of humans, at least that is what the research is suggesting. I found this study in which they gave a blueberry drink to chronically stressed-out rats and it improved cognitive impairment in those aforementioned rats. A second article takes the same research and uses it to suggest that blueberries show promise as a treatment for post traumatic disorder. I even found a journal article talking about the benefits of eating blueberry’s on aiding with degenerative diseases and the aging process, it indicated that “the regular consumption of tasty, ripe blueberries can be unconditionally recommended.” Grab a fork people.
Arguably, we are not unlike or dissimilar to a bunch of stressed-out rats right now, given the social turmoil, isolation, disease and collective loss. What If we all ate blueberry pie together as a species and shared good memories and music we like? A mass blueberry pie eating event, where people spent time talking and sharing good times together? Perhaps a world blueberry pie day of healing. It may not make all of our problems go away, but my bet would be it would go pretty far towards shifting our moods and feeling more connected to each other. I suspect that this would go a long way on some of those other things as well.
Here is Julie’s Blueberry Sour Cream Pie Recipe. I think if baked in proper quantities and shared in the right conditions, it could help heal the world. If you want to improve the world, consider baking and sharing a Julie blueberry pie. Seriously. I am grateful to know the healing powers of a Julie Blueberry pie. What foods do you relish or associate with good company?
What are you grateful for today?