Pie Night real conversations

Over a month ago, a bunch of colleagues and I decided to sign up for Dominique Ansel’s famous Pie Night, when for one hour, all attendees have one hour to eat as much of the ten varieties of pie that Dominique Ansel Kitchen can produce while drinking bottomless apple cider sangria and having ice cream on the side. These were the varieties that we were able to try this season:

– Home-style Chicken Pot Pie with Butter Biscuit Crust
– Slow Braised Pork Shank Pie with Potatoes, Onions, and Cognac
– Artichoke & White Cheddar Pie
– Fennel Sausage and Tomato Pie with Sage and Melted Mozzarella
– Wild Mushroom Sherry Cottage Pie with Creamy Parsnip Purée
– Vanilla Bean Flan with a hint of Dark Caribbean Rum
– Salted Caramel Harvest Apple Pie
– Nutella Angel Cream Pie with Whipped Sour Cream Mousse
– Stone Fruit Pie with Honey Guava Mousse & Raspberry Jam
– Warm Chocolate Poached Pear Pie

My personal favorites of the savory varieties were the chicken pot pie — it was homey and classic, but with nice little soft biscuits lining the top; the wild mushroom with the parsnip puree; and the pork shank of the pork shank pie. Hands down, my favorite sweet pie was the stone fruit pie with honey guava mousse and raspberry jam. Granted to be honest, the guava flavor was not very strong at all, but the flavor combination of all the fruit ingredients was so delicious.

On the way home, a colleague and I took the train uptown together. He’s been asking me every now and then how the fundraising has been going and has been checking my fundraising page to see my progress. He generously donated two years in a row, and sent me a heartfelt message this year about it.  When talking about his two siblings today, he asked me about Ed and referred to him by name, which caught me off guard a bit. At first, I didn’t really understand why I felt so surprised, but then I realized the reason was obvious; most people, unless they are close to me, never refer to Ed by his name; they always just refer to him as “your brother.” Most people also do not ask anything about him given that I’m pretty public about the fact that he has passed, and I’m also very public about how he passed given my fundraising drive.

He asked me how old he was when he passed, what he was like, what he did for a living. We were cut short given we had to get off the train, but it actually felt comforting to have a colleague I’m friendly with openly ask me questions about my brother as though he was a real person, someone with an actual life and past that matters. Oftentimes, when a person has died by suicide, all they tend to be known by, well, by people who know how they died and didn’t personally know them, is simply that they died from suicide, and that’s it. They aren’t known or thought about for their actual life on earth, their passions, their previous reason for being, their foibles. My colleague today reminded me of this sad truth, and tried to make Ed a real person again. For the moments we talked about Ed, I felt grateful that he recognized Ed as a real human being who once breathed on this earth and just wanted what any ordinary, everyday person wants: to be recognized, loved, and heard.


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