Saturday, August 13, 2011

#APieforMikey: Love and Loss in the Age of Twitter

Monday, my friend Jennifer Perillo lost her husband, Mikey. At age 51, he suddenly collapsed and died from a massive heart attack – with no warning, he was here one moment, gone the next. I heard about this on Twitter.

The initial shock and disbelief was quickly swept away by waves of profound anger. Not directed towards anyone or anything, I was simply mad at the universe for this cruelly random and incomprehensible event.

I’ve only met Jennifer once, spending a few carefree days with her at a food event in Sonoma a couple years ago, but through our blogs, and more so Twitter, we had become good friends. For all its superfluous minutia, the social network not only makes real friendships possible, it makes them inevitable.

Instead of withdrawing into the darkness, and shutting out the world, Jennifer used her social network to share her grief, and help her cope with this unimaginable loss. She did so with a courage, dignity, and grace far beyond anything I could have managed.

Inundated by online friends asking what they could do to help, she suggested making this Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, as it was a favorite of Mikey’s. If you search the hashtag, #APieforMikey, you’ll see a truly astonishing outpouring of love and support. As I tweeted yesterday, if there's a stronger, more generous and caring online community than food bloggers, I don't know what it would be.

As many of you know, this has been quite an amazing week for me personally, with the announced acquisition. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a crazy, hectic week of soaring highs, and gut-punch lows. So, for reasons too trivial to mention, I haven’t made the pie yet, which is okay, since the tribute really isn’t about the pie.

It’s about making something delicious for someone you love, sharing it with them, and then, in Jennifer’s words, “Hug them like there's no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.” This is something Michele and I try and do on a regular basis.

Anyway, stay tuned for a future video recipe tribute to Jennifer and Mikey. In the meantime, I wanted to share this extraordinary video done by the incredibly talented White On Rice Couple, Todd and Diane. This has to be the most powerful, sincere, and touching food video I’ve ever seen. Enjoy.

16 comments:

OMG! Yummy said...

I couldn't agree more about White on Rice Couple's video. It's wonderful. Nice post John. Look forward to seeing your tribute as well.

truthspew said...

Sorry to hear about your friends husband. I really have to go back and get some blood work done. I figure I should head off any potential problems.

Robin said...

Beautiful music, beautiful video. Not often there are tears watching a food video. What a tribute. Making my pie today. It is Saturday but it is not only for Mikey and Jennifer, but for my family. This was a good reminder to show the love everyday.

Wendy B. said...

Thank you for this post, Chef John. My condolences go out to Jennifer and her family. My husband's father died this week and we are working through some complicated, messy, and intense emotions as well. This video lifted my spirits and reminded me of the love that surrounds us. I will be making Mikey's pie for my family very soon.
Wendy

Anonymous said...

Love never dies and a bite of comfort food lets us remember that.

Murka said...

That brought out a tear...more than one even... :'( r.i.p. Mikey

Anonymous said...

What an amazing video. Thanks a million for sharing. I will make the pie soon. Evidence of how our lives touch through endless ripples of thoughtfulness and kindness. Keep doing what you do Chef John!

darcyholte said...

there is something very powerful I think this video captures. Its the deep connection between loving food and lovingly preparing it for loved ones. Absolutly beautiful.

Food Junkie said...

Sorry for the loss of your friend. Life can sure throw out some nasty twists and turns.

Anonymous said...

Very well done.....Sorry for your loss. God speed to Mikey...

Elena (Running in Heels After Child) said...

I read Jennifer's blog earlier today, I have never met her and am new to her blog but I am so touched by her and my heart aches for her and her family. I cannot imagine how hard this is.

I will be making peanut butter pie tomorrow.

Jay M. said...

Thanks for sharing, Chef. A well written post. The world of cooking has grown significantly in the last several years, and it's not because we want to perfect our brunoise in the kitchen by ourselves.

We like putting together fun and inventive meals so we can share them with the people we love.

Thanks for the reminder.

philogaia said...

That is a very powerful tribute. Remembering to hold your loved ones close is the best tribute to one suddenly snatched away I can think of. My beloved is 12 hours away from me for the next several years making his fortune in San Francisco. So while I cannot hold him physically right now, I will send this link to him. There is a gathering of friends this Thursday that he would usually come with me to. I think I will make a peanut butter pie...

Me.Eat.Food said...

Very touching blog and community. God bless Mikey and his family. What a wonderful legacy. The video of him dancing with his daughter was wonderful...glad they have that to treasure forever.

Alicia A said...

Mikey was loved. That's what is important.

creepyp1 said...

I can sympathize with you on losing Mikey. I had just stumbled across this post and was saddened by what I read as my grief is still so fresh. I recently ( March 18th 2012) lost my dad to non hodgkins lymphoma. I was angry to cause he was only 58, and the year and a half was painful hospital trips and false hopes ( as you can see the anger is still there). In my grief I turned to cooking which was always a passion and something we had liked to do together. Your videos and knowledge has helped me get threw a hard time in my life and I just thought that you should know! Thank you!