In An Instant!

Photo credit: Jonathan McIntosh, Wikimedia

Instant pudding.

Instant coffee.

Instant oatmeal.

Instant gratification.

We seem to want everything in an instant, forgetting the old adage about stopping to smell the  roses. We go go go, tweet, update our status, multitask, call, buy, click, skim, delete. Everyone is in such a hurry.

What we don’t realize is that life can change in an instant.

My dear friend Jennifer knows this firsthand.

One moment she was making homemade marinara sauce and preparing for her family’s annual jaunt to the Cape. She was making her regular rounds at the green market and cooking up a storm at home (Her lucky family gets to eat her made-from-scratch-and-with-love goodies!). She was living her life juggling kids and calendars and cooking. And might I add she was doing so with her characteristic aplomb. Jennifer is like Ina Garten but with a Brooklyn accent, the ever present sunglasses perched atop her chestnuts locks, and the rare ability to talk in foodieisms while dropping the F-bomb at the same time and not make it sound offensive. She’s a gem, really.

Then in an instant, her husband, the love of her life, died of a massive heart attack. He simply collapsed. She was rendered truly helpless. There were no goodbyes. There were no warning signs. In an instant, life for Jennifer and her daughters, ages three and eight, changed. It took just an instant.

I have spent many nights with Jennifer, listening to the twinkly lilt of her voice when she spoke of Mikey, as she affectionately called him. Theirs was a grand love full familial vigor and the kind of romance only New York City can inspire. They inspired each other and derived strength from each other, a seesaw of support and encouragement from one to the other, depending on who was was up and who was down. He was a match to Jennifer’s wit and grace and strong sense of conviction. Jennifer talked of cooking his favorite meals and the joy she got from sitting down together as a family. To Jennifer, food is love. She feeds her soul by cooking and nourishes those she loves with meals and treats that range from decadent to simply divine.

It is only fitting that this Friday, the day of Mikey’s celebration of life, Jennifer has asked us all to cook up his favorite dessertcreamy peanut butter pie. The community of people who know and love Jennifer have pledged to make this pie to celebrate his life, toast their love, and mourn her loss.

Join me in making a pie for Mikey. For Jennifer. For their girls.

My heart aches for my friend. There are no words. All I can muster is I love you, Jennifer.

Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first. ~Ernestine Ulmer

Share your support on Twitter, Facebook, or your own blog. Be sure to send photos and links  to the fine folks at Food52 at They’re going to gather them all in one post as a tribute for Jennifer and the community that supports her.

Ilina Ewen is the mother of two sons, ages 8 and 6, and a self described brown thumb. She can dance her way around a kitchen but is totally lost in her yard. Ilina is a seasoned writer and brand strategist who loves the comforts of working from home with her dog underfoot and good strong coffee within reach. She also pours her heart and time into her work as an accidental activist and has a passion for education and food related issues. She relishes her time to curl up with a book and has a hankering to learn to play better tennis, but somehow life keeps getting in the way. She blogs at Dirt & Noise, where you can find her dishing on current events and life’s goings on through the lens of a mother. She also posts a weekly feature called 5:00 Fridays, a cocktail recipe with the story that inspired it.

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