My Dad had heart ablation surgery in Panama City, FL a few weeks ago. Nothing terribly serious. The procedure would take a few hours. Dad would be in the hospital overnight for observations but we could pick him up the next morning. We thought he might have the double room to himself, but just as we were leaving for the night, the surgical nurses wheeled in Leroy and parked him next to Dad. Oh well. It was late and Leroy was alone and sedated. Plus Leroy looked like he could have been Dad’s bunker mate during the war. They’d be fine.
Mom, Maggy and I were at the hospital promptly at 9:00 am the next morning to whisk the patient home. We arrive at the room where Geraldine and Don are also waiting to collect Leroy. Little did we know at that early hour that none of us would find our way out of that hospital maze until 3:30 that afternoon.
We start to collect Dad’s things, but the nurse arrives and we get the word. The doctor hasn’t released Dad or Leroy. Until then, no one’s going anywhere, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the wait.
There we are, all seven of us—Mom, Dad, Maggy, Geradine, Don, Leroy, and me—unlikely roommates just waiting to bolt. Leroy finally does the sensible thing and turns on TV. Turns out he loves the Food Network. Yes! We work our way through the morning lineup—Tyler, the Neelys, Paula, Giada, and finally Barefoot Contessa.
All this food watching gets us talking recipes. Geraldine asks if I’d heard of Don’s absolute favorite—Bob Andy Pie? “What?” I said. She repeats the name. I’m both stumped and intrigued. She promises to send the recipe.
Geraldine is true to her word. She doesn’t do computers, but by the time I get back to Connecticut she’s mailed me a 4- by 6-inch index card with a recipe for Bob Andy Pie that I promptly make.
Turns out it’s a simple cinnamon-flavored custard pie (although some recipes call for cloves and even nutmeg) with Amish roots. Even though Geraldine and Don live in Cottondale, FL he grew up among the Indiana Amish and the recipe came South with him.
So how did the pie get its name, I wondered. There are conflicting stories, but the most common seems to be that after tasting this pie, an Amish farmer declared it as good as his two prized work horses, Bob and Andy.
The unbearable hospital wait seemed pointless then, but now I get it. If it hadn’t been for the unlikely gathering in that Southern hospital room I wouldn’t even know about my new favorite pie.