Our trip to Washington, DC included dinner with my childhood bestie, Mary Beth Cullen, whose family lived three doors down from ours at the Jersey shore. Mary Beth surprised me with an amazing gift: Forty letters I’d written to her, the first one dated 1968.
Archive for April, 2017
A couple friends asked me to explain “foolish pie.” My grandmother was a fantastic cook of Southern dishes–fried chicken and dumplings, green beans with pork with a streak of lean, baked beans, sweet iced tea–and foolish pie was one of her specialties. The pie’s main ingredients are pineapple, whipped cream, and sugar. Served chilled, it was cool and simple on a hot summer night. I thought the recipe was unique to my grandmother, or maybe to Tidewater, Virginia. But I looked it up and here it is on Cooks: Foolish Pie.
My sister Deanna clarified for me why the name: “Foolish” because it’s so easy, anyone can make it. Not, as I assumed, because you’re foolish if you eat too much of it.
Maybe that, too.
My grandparents lived in Virginia and as kids we spent summers with them swimming in the public pool, running around barefoot, and eating homemade peach ice cream and foolish pie. A highpoint of every visit was the annual pilgrimage to Colonial Williamsburg, including the viewing of the film, “The Story of a Patriot.” This Spring break, Tim and I took the kids as part of our “US heritage” tour. To my shock and delight, “The Story of a Patriot” is still playing. In the same theater. The movie is the longest continuously running film in history, produced in 1957.
My sisters, brother, and I also loved the gingerbread at Williamsburg’s Raleigh Tavern. Spicy, not-too sweet, strangely dry. We ate some today, fresh out of the oven, and it tasted exactly the same. Not one ingredient different. We visited Mt. Vernon, too, then on to Jamestown. A magnificent trip so far.
Remember the documentary “Somewhere Between”? About the four young women born in China and adopted to families in the US, who returned to China and described the experience on film. One of the women, Jenna Cook, returned again to search for birth family. Fifty families thought they might be a match, but none was. Nevertheless, Jenna says: “Before, there was always a small part of me that felt like there was something I could have done 20 years ago to have changed my fate and then I wouldn’t have been relinquished by my family. But after meeting the birth parents I realised it was really out of my control.”
This BBC coverage of Jenna Cook’s story reveals some of the complexity of adoption–the conflicted feelings, the evolution of understanding, the ramifications for everyone who is touched by it.