friendship

So much more than a pot pie

Random new acquaintance - So, do you work outside the home?

Me - Yes, I operate a gourmet foods business—specializing in pot pies.

Pause. Polite smile. Her - Oh. How interesting. (translation: not.)

This is a recurring conversation for me…different venue, new face, same expression. Sometimes I just let it slide, content to have them think that Butterfield Gourmet is nothing special. Other times I emphasize some of the other facets of the business, for instance, the holiday gift boxes which we ship all over the U.S. On other occasions, I have shared my love of writing stories and how this business provides a creative outlet for me.

However, the fact remains that Chicken Pot Pies are pretty tasty. Tender chicken, sweet peas, savory gravy are packaged in a perfectly flaky crust, forked to your mouth hot and fresh to the delight of your digestive system. And it’s a simple meal—training from culinary school is not required in order to create the satisfaction of a chicken pot pie. Many of us ate pot pies growing up, whether Grandma made one from scratch, Mom heated Marie Calendar’s frozen version, or Dad filled a casserole with chicken stew and topped it with refrigerator biscuits, we all have a memory of the ubiquitous dish.

My pot pie “journey” began with a pie crust obsession in 1988, and thence continuing to make a savory pie for dinner every single week. Later, I always made a pot pie when I took a meal to anyone- a friend who’d had a baby or a grieving church member or a new neighbor. Truly, there is always someone in need of a hot, home-cooked meal.

But is it really a pot pie that they need, or is it more? Is it what the flaky-crusted dinner symbolizes? That someone cares about you. That we know you’re hurting and don’t know what to say. That we realize you are exhausted and don’t have time to take care of yourself. That you deserve an easy, comforting meal with no hassle. That we are happy to know you.

I’ve heard many stories since I began this career as a pie purveyor. I had a gentleman visit my stand at the St. Michael’s Farmers Market a few years ago and he became a regular, purchasing the Home Sweet Home chicken pot pies each week. Once I tried to convince him to try other flavors but he explained that as he was currently undergoing chemotherapy, the chicken pot pies were the perfect meal as they never upset his stomach. (pot pie = health food)

A customer who had purchased 30+ pot pies for the holidays shared with me how she and her husband had gifted them to friends, neighbors, and work associates and how impactful these gifts were. Because the couple delivered each pie in person, pausing to visit with their recipients, it was so much more than a delicious present; it was a gift of their time during an incredibly busy season. (pot pie = friendship)

Over the past year, our children have experienced the joy of adding to their families. It’s difficult for me, as Mom, to see them struggle with sleep deprivation, new parent anxiety and the challenges of finding balance between their formerly child-free lives and currently child-rules-our-lives. I cannot help them with most of these experiences except by listening and giving occasional advice, if asked. They have to find their way. But I always know that I CAN provide a hot meal, or several pot pies for the freezer for those nights when they have no time to consider how to nourish their own bodies, while caring for their little ones. And that gives me great satisfaction. (pot pie = mom)

So it’s not just a chicken pot pie. It is love, compassion, grace, friendship, joy, comfort, empathy, reassurance, forgiveness and community. And that’s pretty darn special. 😊

If you’ve been blessed with a gift of a Butterfield Gourmet pot pie (or any other comfort food) we would love to hear your story in the comments below!