A peanut butter pie in memory of Mikey
August 12th, 2011
09:30 AM ET
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Mikey Perillo loved peanut butter pie. I never met him, but I know that much about him.

I also know that his wife Jennifer Perillo - a food writer, editor, recipe developer, and mother to their two daughters aged three and eight - loved that man beyond measure and would move heaven, hell and everything in between to serve him another piece of that pie.

She never will. This past Sunday evening, Mikey Perillo collapsed to the floor and died of a heart attack. It happened too cruelly and swiftly for Jennifer to even have a chance to say goodbye or tell him that she loved him one last time. He'll never laugh, sing, hug, dance with his daughters, or sit down to one of his wife's lovingly home made meals again.

I never got to meet Mikey, but I have met Jennifer. She is possessed of grace and spark and light and warmth and the world is in love with her.

It's no accident that her vocation is feeding people. It's what she does with her hands, heart and spirit. So it was no surprise to see, as the devastating news of Mikey's death rippled through the online food community, that friends - even those she'd never met - reached out to hold onto Jennifer as she fell.

"We're so sorry." "I can't wait to hug you." "What can I do for you?" "How can I help?" "Can I feed you?"

That's what the food world, the restaurant chefs, home cooks, farmers, craftspeople, servers and writers know how to do. They feed people. And that's what Jennifer wants them to do for each other and for Mikey's memory.

On her blog In Jennie's Kitchen, she wrote:

As I spend Friday reflecting on the love and life that was gone in an instant, I'd like to invite all of you to celebrate his life too. Mikey loved peanut butter cream pie. I haven't made it in a while, and I've had it on my to-do list for a while now.

I kept telling myself I would make it for him tomorrow. Time has suddenly stood still, though, and I'm waiting to wake up and learn to live a new kind of normal. 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.

Jennifer provided the recipe on her website, and my colleague Sarah and I will both be making peanut butter pies to serve to people we love. Join us - and hundreds of people around the globe as we celebrate a man who made the world a sweeter place for everyone around him. You never know when you might have a hungry heart of your own that needs feeding.

Join the Facebook event Peanut Butter Pie Friday for Mikey and Jennifer Perillo and follow the hashtag #apieformikey on Twitter. If you make a pie and blog about it, please leave a link in the comments below.

Read - Roasted chicken soup for the banged-up soul

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Filed under: Blogs • Culture • Rituals • Think

soundoff (414 Responses)
  1. Anjin


    October 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  2. fage

    Jennie got over $70,000 raised for her, but she's out spending it all on dinners at Gramercy Tavern, $600 shoes, new furniture. Many food bloggers are angry and calling for an accountability check with the charity Bloggers Without Borders. CNN needs to follow up on this "poor widow" story.

    October 25, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  3. Momma

    Would someone please tell me what kind of cookies? It just says chocolate and I'm not sure what kind to get.

    September 6, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Jenny

      The chocolate wafers – Nabisco – but any chocolate cookie would do.

      November 7, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  4. Kim

    We made a pie for Mikey. And I hugged my boys and husband and told them I loved them. You just never know when your time will come.

    August 25, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  5. lisamichele

    Love and healing vibes for Jennifer and her daughters, and a pie for Mikey.


    August 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  6. SensitivityClass

    To Erin,

    I am sending you a care package containing sympathy, empathy and reading comprehension. Please take the time to fully read AND understand an article before making moronic comments that show no compassion for a woman who is trying to honor her husband. And to think we all wonder what is wrong with our society. Lack of compassion perhaps? or just bad educational system?

    August 20, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  7. Emily

    Thank you for sharing this. We made a pie for Mikey as well, http://www.harvardcommonpress.com/peanut-butter-pie-for-mikey/, and are so amazed by what the food blogging has done here.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  8. Calley


    August 17, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  9. Sam

    Made this pie tonight. Thought of Mikey while making it. RIP Mikey.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  10. AtheneFive

    I came here today at the suggestion of a friend on another food board. I also just lost my beloved brown eyed man. He was killed by a drunk driver. Like Jennifer, I cooked for him and it was an expression of love, our meals were our sacred, personal time-outs in busy lives.

    Yesterday, when time began again after a two-week stand-still, I found my cookbook still lying open to the next special meal being planned for him and I thought I'd never be able to enjoy corn fritters and dried cherry chutney again as long as I lived. But Jennifer has given me a better way to remember him, and has reminded me that sharing our love with others is more important than guarding it within. Love is a gift, meant to be shared. When you share your love and your sorrow, you heal.

    My heart goes out to Jennifer, knowing that words cannot heal but hoping in the future, happy memories will make her journey through the day a little easier.

    August 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  11. Marge Perry (A Sweet and Savory Life)

    To Jennie with love, and to White On Rice with appreciation for so beautifully expressing what we are all feeling.http://youvegottotastethis.myrecipes.com/taste_this/2011/08/show-love-with-peanut-butter-pie.html

    August 16, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  12. Maria Raynal

    My husband and I made our pie with our 14-year old son... it was a lovely expression of our warmest thoughts and wishes of peace and comfort for Jennie and her girls.


    August 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  13. fiddlehead foraging

    I made a pie with love. http://fiddleheadforaging.blogspot.com/2011/08/pie-for-mikey.html

    August 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  14. Panties

    That pie looks very delicious. Just looking at it is making me hungry.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  15. Amiee

    A day late. A dollar short. My pie for Mikey. http://mamieknits.blogspot.com/2011/08/pie-for-mikey.html

    August 15, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  16. sweetlysmart

    Jennie, please know that your husband knew that you loved him and did not base his love for you on that peanut butter pie. I, too, lost someone and spent months agonizing over things I wished I had said and/or done. When all is said and done, there are SO many other ways you showed your love that the pie or lack of it should not define your relationship with him. Remember all the wonderful moments. Push aside the things you might not have been able to get to. Erin–you could die tomorrow from any number health problems no matter how "healthy" you eat. I have seen that happen, too. Grow up Erin, and learn compassion and sympathy. Hopefully you will never have to deal with what Jennie is living through. If you do, pray people will be kinder to you than you have been to Jennie. Shame on you.

    August 14, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • truth_seeker

      wake up and realize that the world isn't flat and wasn't created 5000 years ago, obviously even healthy ppl die however the likelihood of dying due to coronary artery disease is much MUCH higher if you eat an unhealthy diet and lead an unhealthy lifestyle so shame on you for propagating stupidity and why don't you get an education and learn that the world isn't flat

      August 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
      • Matt

        Wake up and realize that, thank the gods, you don't make decisions for everyone. Pretentios blowhard.

        August 16, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  17. KS

    I have to say I think that the comments equating eating a peanut butter pie in memory of someone's life to smoking in memory of a lung cancer victim are completely missing the point of Jennifer's post. Her story broke my heart and I cannot even begin to imagine what she is going through. I believe her post was intended to encourage people to honor Mikey by doing something for someone that you love NOW instead of tomorrow because most often, like she has said, these gestures are on our "to-do list". We never get around to it because we can't imagine that there won't be a tomorrow. It isn't about a peanut butter pie, it is about reminding the people that we love in our lives every day how much we love them and striving to never look back and think "if only I had...".

    I've never met Jennifer, and I hadn't read her blog until I noticed someone else's post about the pie but the support for her has been truly inspirational. Sending her family much strength and courage...

    August 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  18. Michelle

    Made a pie and shared it with my husband and some friends:

    August 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
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