If you’ve ever seen the movie, ‘Waitress”, you will better understand my relatively newfound passion for cooking. In the movie, the main character bakes pies to get her through her emotional crises. It’s a good movie, I think.

I also love Patty Griffin, the singer/songwriter. She writes beautiful lyrics that usually are filled with pain but about moving on and getting stronger. Based off of her own life experiences, I’m sure. Newly and painfully divorced, she worked as a waitress at a Pizza Uno (a cheap pizza place), I believe it was, wore a hairnet, and hated her life. Until she started singing for people. Then she found purpose in her pain.

I used to sing one of her songs, “Making Pies” to Nathan. It was his favorite song I sang that wasn’t mine, and he would request it a lot. It used to make me sad, but, in some ways, I wanted to be a person that could understand the depths of the pain in it. Here are the lyrics to “Making Pies”. I suggest listening to it, and if you find a version where she’s singing it live with just her and her guitar, that’ll be so much deeper than the studio recorded version. If you can’t tell, it’s written in the character of an old woman:

It’s not far
I can walk
Down the block
To table talk
Close my eyes
Make the pies all day

Plastic cap
on my hair
I used to mind
Now I don’t care
I used to mind
Now I don’t care
Cause I’m Gray

Did I show you this picture of my nephew
Taken at his big birthday surprise
At my sister’s house last Sunday
This is Monday and we’re making pies
I’m making pies
Making pies
Pies

Thursday nights
I go and type
Down at the church
With Father Mike
It gets me out
And he ain’t hard to like
At all

Jesus stares at me
In my chair
With his big blue eyes
And his honey brown hair
And he’s looking at me
Way up there
On the wall

Did I show you this picture of my sweetheart
Taken of us before the war
Of the Greek and his Italian girl
One Sunday at the shore

We tied our ribbons to the fire escape
They were taken by the birds
Who flew home to the country
As the bombs rained on the world

5 am
Here I am
Walking the block
To table talk
You could cry or die
Or just make pies all day
I’m making pies
Making pies
Making pies
Making pies

I never cooked before Nathan died. Didn’t bake, didn’t fry, didn’t read recipes, didn’t cook. Nate made dinner for us. He was a gourmet chef of sorts, particularly with anything involving chocolate. Later, with a new baby on my own, I had to start making things, because especially when you are a single mother, you can’t afford to go out to eat all the time, it’s tiring taking baby all over the place, and you want to know what ingredients and nutrients you are feeding baby. So I started cooking. Everything I had tried before had always turned to mushy grossness. But now, suddenly, I was actually okay at it. It’s like God saved my cooking skills for when I would need them. Please don’t take this to mean that I am really good or anything. It’s just that when you REALLY suck at something, then suddenly you make edible, even pleasurable to eat meals, it’s great.

But more than just eating, baking in particular has become therapeutic for me. I started out with pies. Remember Pie Day Friday? That wasn’t sustainable, but from pies I moved out to muffins, then bread, and by then I had enough confidence to attempt everything else. I’ve needed some self-therapy lately, so I’ve been baking. “You could cry or die/Or just make pies all day” is the line from Patty Griffin’s song. I agree with it. Rather than thinking too much, it’s best just to make some pies and give them away.

Here’s a muffin recipe I really like. Found on allrecipes.com, I think. I haven’t given out any recipes lately:

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour                                1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar                                                       1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon baking powder                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda                                        1 cup mashed ripe bananas

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                  3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine egg, oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Makes 16 servings.

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