When thinking of a prompt like “silky,” my mind immediately leapt to French silk pie. This is something that I would always choose as a kid, when I was lucky enough to be out at a restaurant. At home, my mother would make coconut cream pie and it was actually my favorite, but it never tasted quite as good when other people made it. I asked Philippe if this was indeed French and he looked at it as one might observe an alien, giving me my answer. It’s not. It’s purely an American invention. I couldn’t find the reason it was given this name in my quick and shotty Google research, so I can only assume it’s called this simply because it sounds “fancy.” But, even if adding the word “French” doesn’t make it true, it does give it a certain je ne sais quoi that makes it seem rather special. As a kid, I wasn’t particularly concerned with the origin at all. I just loved it because it was so darn delicious.
Now, of course, I’m no longer thinking of French silk pie and consumed with the desire to have some of my mother’s coconut cream pie again instead. Must make note to self to request it when I visit during the holidays this year. It’s funny how certain foods taste better when prepared by someone you love. I’m sure the recipe my mom had was clipped from the same book or magazine as the mother up the street, but the love she put into it just made it taste so much better. Of all the ingredients that one can include in a particular dish, that’s one that can’t be purchased, and will always make the food beautifully unique. There are so many of those wonderful foods that I haven’t had in years now. I still miss them dearly, but the memories are more than enough to fill me up and make me smile. They’re like old friends that you don’t get to see very often, but knowing that they’re out there somewhere still gives you that same sense of joy.
Today, Philippe might try some amazing new dessert recipe, altered just a bit to make it truly his own. And a new memory and tradition is born. Food isn’t just about the flavor and well, the calories, it’s about the emotions that go into preparing it and the events surrounding it. These are the actual flavors that we remember most. Even the simplest things can become amazing that way. I think that’s why I love illustrating food more than anything else. The story in my head while I’m painting it may be mine, but your story will be something else entirely. A moment in time when something you love was enjoyed with someone you also love. That’s a powerful thing indeed. Not necessarily those extravagant tales told to impress, but those exceptional moments when love was nearly all you could taste. Glorious moments found in so many things, even something as “fancy,” yet seemingly simple, as French silk pie.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Gamboge, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al-Star Fountain Pen – Extra Fine, with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.