“Dancing = vulnerability = joy. And that’s contagious.” - Brené Brown
I’m probably going to refer to this pie as Vera’s Pie from now on, even though its official name is Chocolate Pecan Ice Cream Pie with Bourbon Butterscotch and Pretzel Crust. It’s from this cookbook, and it was easier to make than I thought it would be but also quite possibly even more delicious than it looks in the photos.
When my sister Amy told me she wanted to visit me in Seattle before our baby comes, I was thrilled. The fact that she made it work to travel here alone with her 13-month-old daughter made me feel so loved and cared for, likely because my number one love language by far is quality time. I wanted to make sure they got to do everything they wanted to do while they were here, which Amy told me was mostly just to spend time with us and our cousins and meet our friends. I decided a spaghetti dinner was in order, and that I would make a special pie for dessert.
Now, I’m sure there’s some complicated culinary explanation that I’m unaware of, but whenever I think about the kind of dessert that should follow a meal made of pasta with red sauce, I think chocolate is the only way to go. It’s possible that the presence of red wine is often a factor I suppose, but when I think of serving, say, cherry pie after spaghetti, I think I’d rather skip dessert altogether.
I’d been wanting to try out this pie, so I gathered the ingredients and worked on it little by little over the course of a few days, food processing the pretzels on Monday, making the chocolate covered nuts on Tuesday, and so on until our dinner on Thursday. You really should buy this book and get the recipe for yourself. I promise it’s worth it.
While we ate brunch after I picked Amy and Vera up from the airport, we were talking about how incredible it is that this little girl is growing into a real person, walking and talking and showing signs of her very own personality. Amy mentioned that when her husband dropped the two of them at the airport that morning they’d been discussing the fact that Vera trusts them so completely, and what a huge, weighty thing that is. I think it’s got to be one of the strangest parts of becoming a parent: the realization that you’re just you, the flawed and fallible person you’ve always been, yet in another human’s eyes you are mama or dada, which can mean the whole great big world.
One of my favorite things about little miss V is her entirely shameless love of dancing. So far she has about four moves, but they’re all as adorable and precious and hilarious as you’d imagine. I think my favorite is when she shoots both hands straight up into the air and rotates her hips from side to side. That one’s usually followed by a hands-in-the-air-clap-with-squat-to-the-beat. When she realized she could see herself dancing in our tv, she was mesmerized by her own moves, which I think is a pretty clear sign of total confidence. She’s still unaware of the fear of embarrassment, from what I could tell, and it was so much fun to witness her joy.
I also knocked another item off of my Seattle bucket list with the help of Amy and Vera. We didn’t go to the Space Needle for the Macklemore/pirate flag dance party (in part because, apparently, the Space Needle hasn’t given its employees raises in four years), but we sure did go out on the docks at Fisherman’s Terminal and dance around with a pirate flag in the rain. Well, Amy and I danced. Vera sort of stood there stunned, trying to figure out where we were and what the boats and the water were all about.
We hit Pike Place and the Seattle Aquarium, and made sure to take a walk down to the Ballard Locks. Vera entertained herself for hours by pulling bottles of vitamins out of a bin in our bathroom and carrying them around, shaking them to the beat of her own little drum. We had a dance party at least once a day, always to the tune of Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’.
And although Vera didn’t get to have any of the pie this time, I sort of decided that this pie and this visit were going to mark a commitment to remembering her dancing and her vulnerability and her JOY, to remembering that there isn’t anything to fear. It really is contagious.
So here’s to you, sweet girl. May your dancing and your joy inspire countless others you will meet in your lifetime. And when you find yourself feeling afraid, come over for a slice of pie and some uptown funk.