What follows is an open letter to Nana B of Nana B’s Bakery in Merrickville. I would like to share a secret with you. It’s not a secret recipe or a secret dish. It’s something that I have been reflecting upon the past few months: I believe your pies are magical.
I know this must sound a bit odd, given that you are famous for your butter tarts, and, goodness knows, you make the region’s best bread and cookies. I have, however, observed your pies in action.
A few months ago, when my father was in the last stage of his Alzheimer’s, I couldn’t resist the temptation to give him a piece of your homemade, blueberry pie. It was quite frivolous of me, for at that stage, my father could no longer swallow solid food. I thought he might like to sample a bit of your blueberry filling as an afternoon treat.
Do you know, he somehow managed to devour the whole piece all by himself – crust and all. I’ll never forget seeing his purple fingers and his deep purple lips. Now that I remember it, my father pretty much became purple from the waist up. He had purple covering his elbows, running up his arms, and even a bit dripping out of his armpits.
To this day, I’m not sure how he did it, given that my father could no longer use a knife or cut with a fork, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. He somehow managed to clean his plate, surprising even himself at the accomplishment.
This is how I know your pies have special powers. They realize more than bigger bellies. They encourage small miracles. They help people to escape their daily routines and to savour life.
With admiration, a local patron