This last week Annie from Biocadence reminded me of a book I had laying on my desk waiting for me to read it. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. When I requested the book on PaperbackSwap.com, I was in the ballpark of being number 250-something on the wait list, it finally arrived. I was patient, however I ended up watching the film first. Actually, I am glad I had watched the film first and fell in love with those characters and then had all the details filled in this last weekend as I read the book.
From the film, my favorite white woman was Celia Foote. I love how her style (Marilyn Monroe/Jane Mansfield) was portrayed and how the character was brought to life by Jessica Chastain. Too cute for words! I would be a friend to that person in real life if they could be a friend to me. However, in the book, my favorite white lady was Skeeter. She had so much more depth to her and by the end of the book I decided that her theme song needed to be These Boots Were Made For Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra, not so much directed at Stuart (poor guy was already burned by a female) but at the town of Jackson, Mississippi. In fact I could envision her getting on that plane to New York with that song playing in the background. I cannot help but laugh thinking about it!
I loved the depth of the book. There was just so much more (as there always is) than in the film. So many things were explained better and I must say, I would give anything for a friendship like Skeeter and Aibileen had. There is no way that I can choose between Minny and Aibileen. I loved them both for who each of them were created to be by the author. Octavia Spencer was spot on in Minny's spunk and sass in the film and stayed very true to the book. Viola Davis brought all of the grace, charm and dignity that I believe was meant for Aibileen to have. Their friendship was something very special too.
The film however for me is visually stunning. I cannot help but rave about the costumes as I just love that style of clothing and the elegance that the upper middle class to the wealthy had. My goodness but those clothes were amazing! As much as I did not like Hilly Holbrook in either the film or the book...she did have some beautiful clothes! And that pink dress that Celia wore to the benefit? I could hear Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friends playing in my head when I first saw it in the film...again, Marilyn Monroe!
And then there was The Terrible Awful. The pie, the chocolate pie. Even though it is quite funny, I cannot help but think that if it was not for that chocolate pie, the town of Jackson (in the book) would never have been able to heal. Or at least as peacefully as that pie seemed to be able to make the healing process. It was smoother than most other ideas that happened during the Civil Rights movement. Even though Minny is a fictional character I cannot help but wonder, could she have known that such a brazen act and a bit of chocolate would help to change her town? It did make me wonder if we took a bit more time in the kitchen to make a pie now and then and give it to people, would that help to make our communities better, friendlier? It is an old fashioned idea, but maybe they were on to something back then.
I was inspired, very inspired as there are certain times during the month where chocolate means more to me than at other times of the month. So, I decided to make one yesterday. Only...it was terrible. It was awful. It was my Terrible Awful. No, no, no, not terrible awful like that! I just forgot to add the sweetener and I had used 100% cacao (I have not made a mistake in the kitchen like that in many, many years...it was humiliating). It was so bitter, I thought we were all going to look like we drank salt water! If you add the sweetener, it is actually an excellent pie! I hope you will give it a try and of course if you have not read the book or watched the film, please do.
My Terrible Awful
otherwise known as
You'll Never Guess What's In This Chocolate Pie
from Vegan Bake Sale, by, Carla Kelly p. 174
2 cups soft, ripe avocado
12 oz. silken tofu
2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk (vanilla)
1Tbsp. lemon juice
1Tbsp. pure maple syrup (don't forget this)
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (don't forget this either)
1 9" pre-made pie crust (I made my own)
2 cups fine vegan chocolate
1. In a blender or food processor, blend together the ingredients from avocado through vanilla until very smooth and lump free.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (I use a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water). When melted smooth, add to the blender and blend into the avocado mixture.
3. Pour into the prepared pie crust, smooth the top, and chill overnight.
4. Decorate, if desired.
I also added two cups of chopped pecans to mine since they are so plentiful here in Texas. If you like nuts, add what is available in your area.
If you happened to see The Help or read the book (or both) what were your thoughts? Which character could you most identify with? Have you made a chocolate pie that changed anyone's world?