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would be an understatement

would be an understatement

Every now and then, I like to feed my cookbook habit by checking out what titles will be released in the months to come. I will scour the publisher sites, as well as the big book retailer sites, and augment my already ridiculous cookbook wishlist with even more cookbooks. More more more!

I remember the moment exactly when I saw that the Elsen sisters of Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn, NY, were going to be publishing a book in October 2013.

I (not-so-patiently) waited for publication day and even ordered the book in advance (I received it before it was officially stocked on the shelves of my local bookstore).

I should be clear that I have never met Melissa and Emily Elsen, nor have I ever been to their delightful-sounding store. But from the moment that I read about these marvelous pie-baking sisters in Martha Stewart Living, I have admired them from afar.

All-butter crusts. Handmade. Seasonal fruit. Baked with love. I’m there.

The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shop has been my constant coffee table companion since I purchased it.

It is marvelous and happy.

I tried two pies from the cookbook – the Salted Caramel Apple Pie and Lizzie’s Lemon Sour Cream PIe – both to great success.

But it was the appie pie that made me happiest. Pure and delicious.

This has been a tough week with the passing of Lis Cifelli. It has been a week where I’ve been reminded of some old times and happy memories. It has been a week where thoughts of pie have comforted me.

I hope you pick up this book, if you can. It is full of some truly righteous pie and it has lifted my spirits to no end.

(The recipe for the Salted Caramel Apple Pie is here.)

On November 19, 2006, Lis Cifelli of La Mia Cucina and I put up a post about pretzels. A happy moment between friends, it was also the very beginning of The Daring Bakers.

This week, Lis passed away.

I found out the sad news thanks to the efforts of Kelly of Sass and Veracity and Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict, both of whom contacted me.

To say that I was shocked would be an understatement.

While we had never met in person for a long time Lis and I were close friends. Unfortunately, over the years, some things changed. We had not spoken in a very long time.

When I heard the news, I was shocked and upset and so regretful.

I will remember Lis for so many reasons. She was so darn funny. She was really smart and she was strong. I used to tell her that I could totally tell that she was half Italian even if she would have never told me she was just based on her opinionated and strong character!

But I think I will remember her most for her tremendous kindness to me.

When we first met, I was still struggling with the passing of my father. On many occasions she would cheer up with a funny story or a happy reminiscence of her own father. Where she loved, she loved deeply and fully. She would do anything for her friends.

This is what I will remember. Oh and I will also remember her hilarious use of the word fakkin’, which I had never heard before I met Lis!

The post that Lis and I dreamed up way back in 2006 was about pretzels. Her account of her adventures in baking pretzels is here. It is so Lis. But I also leave you with what is perhaps my favourite post on her blog: her tribute to her father’s famous squid sauce.

因為愛你 向日葵的希望 夕陽西下的靜美 漫天花雨 切断記念日も兼 た姿はもうありません 這樣的情書 漫画か何かで 雨樋金具に通します 每一片葉子上的人生 さんの部屋だった
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