Mini Pot Pies (Or, Grief).

This post is full of serious heavy stuff! Death and grief and pot pie. Losing someone you love is hard, really hard. While I realize that I am very, very lucky in some regards (I still have all my parents, for example) sometimes the list of people I’ve lost seems long – especially since a lot of them I’ve lost in the last 3-4 years. 6 grandparents, 2 uncles, an aunt, one friend to suicide, another to cancer, another in a car accident. The mom, dad, and brother – all to cancer within a few years – of a friend. It can feel overwhelming.

I’ve been finding that the older I get and the more people I’ve lost, the more emotionally affected I seem to be when other people experience loss and grief. Maybe it’s that seeing other people grieve reminds me of the people I’ve lost and I grieve all over again. Maybe I’m just getting more and more sensitive. I don’t know.

One of my best friends lost a friend of hers recently, someone she’d known for years. Actually, a lot of people that I know knew him, and so their loss was all over social media. Which is a weird thing – social media and death, grief, mourning. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I suppose that it can be a way of grieving together, in a community, even if you can’t all be in the same place. But it isn’t helpful for everyone. When I lost my friend in 2008 in a car accident, I found out through Facebook: 3 of your friends have joined the group “In loving memory of _____”.

Anyway, when someone that I love loses someone that they love, my reaction is always to do one thing – bring food. People grieve differently, and some people want to see people and talk about things, and some people want to be alone. Some people don’t want to be around folks who didn’t know the person they lost. When I’ve experienced grief and loss, I usually don’t want to ask for help. I’ve always felt uncomfortable telling someone that I’ve even lost someone – asking for an extension on a school assignment, or asking for time off work for a funeral, or explaining to friends why you haven’t answered their calls/texts/emails/whatever. It feels crass, or something, which I realize is ridiculous. Usually friends who know offer help – but to be honest, I think I’ve always answered the standard “Let me know if you need anything” with a “Thanks, I’m okay”. So when someone I love loses someone they love, I just delivery help in food form, without them asking. It’s all I know how to do.

In the past, when I’ve delivered sympathy food to friends or family, it has often been something large – a lasagna, eggplant parmigiana – something that feeds a family. But with friends, it can be different – an entire lasagna is a lot of food for 1-2 people, and it often doesn’t really fit well in our tiny apartment fridges. So this time, I made some individual-sized veggie pot pies. You can buy little disposable aluminum pie plates at the grocery store that come with cardboard lids – like the containers that takeout sometimes comes in. A couple of years ago I made myself a batch of mini pot pies and froze them, and I loved having them when I needed dinner but didn’t feel like cooking – especially because they cover most of the food groups, so I didn’t feel like I was eating terribly. You bake them completely when you make them, let them cool, and then freeze them – when you want to have one for dinner you just put it back in the oven for 40-60 minutes until its warm.

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I won’t say too much about the recipe for these pies, because I already did pot pie on here already. I will note the changes to the recipe I made though, in case you want to adapt that one for yourself or someone you love:

Original recipe is here.

  • I use rectangular pans with crimp on cardboard lids. I believe they are this size. I find that I can easily get 4 pies, sometimes 5 (which is how many came in a package). I only got 4 pies this time.
  • I use the same double crust pie recipe as always, but cut it to fit these individual pie plates. It can be frustrating work because you are trying to get more uniform shapes and you need to fit a lid on the containers afterwards, etc. But don’t fuss too much about them looking perfect. I just force the lids on afterwards and it’s no biggie.
  • Bake them all together on a baking sheet to prevent spills in your oven. I find they still take about as long as a full pie would take, but keep an eye on them.
  • With this pie I used chickpeas instead of fake chicken. I liked it better with the chickpeas for sure. I also added sweet potato to the veggie mixture which was really nice.
  • I suggest writing the reheating instructions right on the container. If you are going to reuse the containers yourself maybe you want to leave room for changing the instructions for whatever you make next.

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That’s all for now, friends. Take care of each other.

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