After the election a couple weeks ago, I began a post but then deleted it, deeming it too political, too negative for this space - one that normally houses happy, goofy, sometimes silly thoughts. Exactly two weeks have passed, and in truth, I continued to blindly follow my optimism with hopes that this - the results, the fate of our country - wouldn't be as bad as the media was making it. Andrew would share podcasts predicting the changes ahead, and I'd shrug it away. It wouldn't ever get that bad, would it?
And then yesterday, I got a text. It was from a thread shared between my most loved college girlfriends. I expected more of the goofy love that we typically share with each other, manifested often in gifs and all caps text like the emotion-ful women we are. Instead, it was my friend's call for our support. With it, an attachment of her story - how she went out to her nearby bodega (she lives in New York City) in the evening for hot chocolate, was thrown to the ground by a man and called an "ISIS slut", her wrist held down by the man's foot as he assaulted the owner of the bodega. As I read the words, I sat stunned and confused. I wished for so many things. I wished I was in New York hugging her with all my might. I wished for all of us to be just a walk down the street away, like it was back in those college days. I wished for more love. More than anything, I found myself wishing that this had never happened to her.
But it did.
The past two weeks, I have lived in my ignorant bubble, but I cannot live in ignorance anymore. As another friend (another loved one in this thread) told me this morning, "this heinous shit is in our house now". It's not just another story on the Internet. It's a realization that it's real - the accounts of racism, hate, danger - it's all so real. And it scares me, because these issues are not easy to fix. This isn't just a scratch I can patch up and go on my way - it's a wound that goes beyond her bruised head and knees, runs deep into the emotional and the mental.
But I have to start somewhere, so here I am writing it down. I can't offer the end-all solution, but I can share her pain, her story, and hope that if it hasn't hit you yet, it will now. This election has highlighted years of bitterness, violence, and hate - what I've always known has been there, but never truly allowed to set in.
The first step is always acknowledgement of the issue at hand.
Now is not the time for blind optimism. If we aim to be hopeful in this time, let us do it with understanding of all the work that has to be done.
Thanksgiving is near, and even with everything happening, I am still thankful for so many things. For my family, the texts each morning, and my mom's daily Bitmoji wishing us all health and strength and happiness. For the gracious weather, the outdoor runs in the middle of November, and safe travel conditions throughout the interview trail. For Andrew, his never-ending patience, and his thoughtful words and conversation. For my medical school friends and their inspiring knowledge and humanity. For my girlfriends in that thread, a strong pact of women who are all so different but share a fierce love and loyalty that I am so thankful to feel each and every day.
This pie is for everyone I love, because we could all use a little of that right now. A pie with tender pears lightly spiced with ginger and nutmeg, and a little booze for that holiday feel. Surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust and best warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, shared with family, friends, loved ones.
Pear bourbon pie, adapted from Food Network
- 1 double crust pie dough, chilled in the fridge for at least an hour - I use this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, never fails me
- 6 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten for the egg wash
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Place a 9 inch pie pan on top of a baking sheet and place both in the fridge to keep cold.
- In a large bowl, toss the pears with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, cornstarch lemon zest, lemon juice, and bourbon. Set aside.
- On a floured surface, roll out your first disc of pie dough into a 12 inch circle. Remove your pie pan from the fridge and place your dough into the pie pan, so that there is an overhang all around the pan. Roll out your second disc into a 10 inch circle and set aside. Work as quickly as possible to keep the dough cold!
- Add your filling to the pie pan (be careful not to use too much of the juices or else your pie will get too soggy, a little juice goes a long way!) Reserve the rest of the juice for a syrup for another day.
- Top your pie with the second disc of pie dough. Fold over the overhang from the bottom dough over the top dough and crimp the edges. Brush the pie with your egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar all over the top. Make a few cuts on the top center of the pie to allow for steam to escape when baking. Place the pie and baking sheet back into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat your oven to 425 F.
- After your pie has chilled (it should be stiff to the touch), place your pie and baking sheet in the oven and let it bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 375 F and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown throughout. I would check at 1 hour and decide from there if you need to bake it more.
- Remove pie from the oven and let it cool before slicing into it. Enjoy for the holidays with your family and friends!
Have a happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone. Let it be a time to reflect, to fill our bellies and hearts, to love deeply.