I am black.
I am from the South.
I am a woman.
But most importantly, I am a person.
And I just read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
I’m not sure if any of those adjectives made this book harder or easier for me to read. I’ll just be frank, I loved the book. But often, it tied my stomach in knots, made me nauseous, scared, and frightened for the time that once was. A time when a black person could be hung on a tree, for saying the wrong thing, or looking at the wrong person.
The Help, is historical fiction that takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 when race relations are at an all time high. Martin Luther King will soon be taking his walk on Washington, people across the south are staging protests, and three ordinary women find each other as they search to find their place in this world.
The Help, is written in the voices of three very distinct, powerful characters. Abileen, a wise, highly spiritual, black maid, that has raised 17 white children, and one of her own who recently died while his white bosses looked the other way. Minny, a sassy, fast talking, weathered by the world maid, who can cook her tail off, but just might cook herself into a whole heap of trouble. And Skeeter, a recent graduate from Ole Miss, who is nothing but “Ole” in her ways. She longs to be a writer, but even more importantly an honorable person, something Constantine her childhood maid would be proud of.
The three come together in secret, to write an anonymous book about what it’s like to be a black maid, in 1962, in Niceville Mississippi. If they’re found out, no one knows what will happen, but they all know, it won’t be good. Once published, the book catches on like wildfire, but can they keep it out of the hands of the woman who could hurt them the most?
The book blurs the lines between black and white, the lines the times have told them they mustn’t cross. It makes ones wonder that maybe the lines that separate us are only in our heads, and that maybe. . . . they don’t exist at all.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Don’t even say it.
Yes, I do realize that I might be the last person on earth to read this book. But, maybe you didn’t read it. So, I amend my earlier statement, the second to last person.
As the second to last person to read this book, I am the first to admit that all things eventually lead me to food.
And as luck would have it, one of the main characters in the book, Minny is a cook. The best cook ever. And she makes pie. And I like pie.
And guess what.
It’s almost Thanksgiving.
And you like pie too.
And we both like chocolate pie. And Minny makes a town talking, scrumpdillyumptious chocolate pie. I didn’t make that pie. Read the book, and you’ll know why.
But I did make this pie. And it’s pretty durn good if I do say so myself.
You can have a piece if you like.
Chocolate Pecan Pie
1 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup or 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 TB unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup pecan pieces
1 unbaked 9” pie shell
1. In a heavy saucepan combine corn syrup, sugar, margarine, and vanilla. Bring to boil while stirring constantly.
2. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool completely (it’ll take about 45 minutes – even faster if you stick it in the fridge).
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Once the syrup mixture has cooled, add the beaten eggs and whisk to combine fully.
5. Place pecans evenly at the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour syrup over pecans.
6. Bake 1 hour until set. If the crust begins to prematurely brown, place aluminum foil over the crust while cooking, to prevent it from turning too dark.