Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mommy's Day Grammy Jill

Well, it's Mother's Day so I have been thinking of Grammy Jill.

Dad once read me a poem he wrote for her on this day many years ago. I emailed Grammy Jill to see if she still had it. She sent back a poem, but it wasn't at all the one I recall.

Mothers are as total as the sky:
Older than the earth and more enduring.
They're rooted in our hearts like ancient trees.
Halfway down to seething lava seas:
Emblazoned on our sail, and on our mooring.
Returning home, we dwell within their sigh:
So maddening, so rich, so reassuring.
-Nicholas Gordon

I don't remember much about the poem I'm thinking of, but, Grammy Jill, this definitely isn't it.

I only remember a few fragments of one or two lines of the poem I am trying so desperately to recall.

How do you thank someone for a lifetime of work
Who's a (something, something, something), a saint, and a jerk

I do recall another line.

The cleaning, the cooking, the vodka she drank

Not a clue what the rhyming verse was. What rhymes with drank? Clank? No. Stank? NO! Dank? I don't think so. Plank? Perhaps. Tank? Could be. Bank? That's a good possibility.

Grammy Jill, center, exchanging experiences of Saturday night's icy thoroughfares. That's how the newspaper caption read. That's Barbra Streisand behind her.

Grammy Jill came and stayed with me for a month to help with my first litter of pups. Yes! A month! Thanks Grammy Jill.


In honor of Mother's Day, I am sharing Mario Batali's mother's blackberry pie recipe.

Marilyn Batali's Blackberry Pie

While walking in Galicia with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali spotted a bush full of ripe blackberries, his "favorite fruit in life," and recalled filling the back of his parents' station wagon with buckets of blackberries when he was growing up in Seattle. After getting his mother, Marilyn, to e-mail him her recipe, Mario prepared this luscious pie.

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN


  1. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled
  5. 5 tablespoons ice water


  1. 2 pints blackberries (1 1/2 pounds)
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  1. MAKE THE CRUST In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt. Add the shortening and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water and stir with a fork until the dough is moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it into a ball. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Divide in half; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch glass pie plate. Roll out the remaining dough to an 11-inch round.
  3. MAKE THE FILLING Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir the blackberries with the sugar, flour and lemon juice, lightly mashing a few berries; scrape into the prepared pie crust and sprinkle the butter cubes on top.
  4. Brush the overhanging pastry with water and carefully set the top crust over the berry filling. Press the edges of the dough together and trim the overhang to 1 inch. Fold the edge under itself and crimp decoratively. Cut 4 slits in the top crust.
  5. Bake the pie in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the bottom crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling. If necessary, cover the edge with foil for the last few minutes of baking. Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The baked pie can stand at room temperature overnight.