Baking helps heal, food helps needy

Baking as meditation …

A silent kitchen can be a healing balm for one who is grieving. Hours slip by as hands steer the familiar rolling pin back and forth, instinctively stopping at just the right thickness. Pie crust is lovingly laid into the pan to be followed by fillings of pumpkin, apple, lemon and berry.

There would be 42 homemade pies in all, a remarkable feat to honor a remarkable woman.

“It was indeed a comfort to do something so challenging as sort of a way to express the large grief we feel for the loss of Carol,” said her friend SARA SHERMAN PURDUE.

CAROL PERALTA first came into her life when she helped Sara’s husband ROGER silk screen print his Native American artwork. Over the years, she became a dear friend to the entire Purdue family.

“Both of our children worked under her tutelage at some time developing their art skills,” Sara continued. “She and her partner Dick were also loyal pie customers at the Coupeville Farmers’ Market. Our son, WILBUR PURDUE, used to sell vegetables and homemade pies at the Coupeville Farmer’s Market.

“Wilbur and I both would gather the fruits from the Prairie, cherries from the Engle Farm, apples from Phyllis Sherman’s tree, rhubarb from the Smiths and wild blackberries from the woods. Then, using his great Aunt Tollie’s crust recipe, Wilbur would make and sell these pies.

“When Carol died, I suggested that we make pies to remember her. The two of us set up our big Kitchen Aid mixers and mixed up all of the crusts. Then I took it from there making the fillings,” Sara added.

The pies, all 42 of them, were served at a recent celebration of Carol’s life. Word is they were “exquisite.”

I expect there are many bakers out there for whom this ritual is a source of comfort. For me, I don’t think I will look at a piece of pie the same way again.

Time for a miracle …

WILLIAM MOODY and JOHN GROOTE of FOX POINTE on Pioneer Way regret they must close their shop located next to Casual House.

“We want people to know that it’s not because they haven’t supported us. They have,” William emphasized.

“John has recently been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and is currently receiving treatment at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.” He hopes John can get into clinical studies at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

ALS is different in different human beings but it affects mostly men in their 60s. John just turned 60.

“We were looking forward to the revitalization of downtown and Windjammer Park,” said William, who promised to keep in touch with updates. Meanwhile, JILL SCHACHT, owner of Casual House, has bought the Fox Pointe store.

If you believe in miracles, then pray one has John’s name on it.

Take me home …

Some people adopt a cat for company and yet they are never at home. And some adopt big dogs but neglect to exercise and walk them, or feed them a sufficient diet.

Adopting an animal is your promise to care for it all of its life, give it a safe, warm place, quality food and veterinarian care.

WAIF is having a big Adoptathon this Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bayview Corner in Langley. Ask about WAIF’s Twice the Love program; they’ll waive the adoption fee for the second companion animal you adopt the same day.

Can’t make it to the adoptathon? Then try or call WAIF at 360-678-5816.

Count birds on Saturday …

It’s time for the annual WHIDBEY AUDUBON SOCIETY Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, Dec. 17. Fifteen teams will attempt to count all the birds in a 15-mile diameter circle centered at Arnold Road and State Route 20, covering an area from the north side of Ault Field to south of Admirals Cove. Each team is assigned an area varying in size according to the terrain to be covered and is led by an experienced birder. The count goes rain or shine, so call Steve Ellis at 360-678-2264 to sign up.

People helpers …

JACK and SUE TINGSTAD of Coupeville wish to thank the community for their most generous contributions to the Gifts From The Heart Food Bank. On the weekend after Thanksgiving, Jack held his model railroad open house. “That Saturday and Sunday, over 400 folks came to our home to enjoy the latest changes to the layout,” said Jack. “As they entered, most contributed a little something to the Food Bank.”

AL FRASCH of Freeland, a fellow model railroader, suggested the idea of a food donation. Guests donated over 400 pounds of food which has been added to the food bank’s new distribution facility at the old fire station in Coupeville.

Who to invite?

Send me the name of a person, living or dead, you’d like to invite to your home at Christmas, and tell me why. Email me at I’ll be back on Dec. 21.   

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