As appeared in

Pecan Pie Muffins for Daddy

A pecan treat that comforted a daughter and her ill father

by Kathy Schendle — Posted on Jun 1, 2007

Kathy Schendle and her father

I missed Daddy an awful lot. I couldn't go into the kitchen without thinking of him.

He was the cook in our family, always trying out new recipes and methods. Once he rigged up a big metal fish fryer so he could fry catfish over a firepit in our yard.

Then he took sick. That was the only time I ever came up with a recipe for him.

He'd come down with cancer and had lost his appetite. Our family doctor made house calls just to plead with him to eat. I tried too. "Please eat something, Daddy," I said one day, stroking his hand. "You need to keep your weight on."

"I'd love to have some pecan pie," he finally said with a mischievous glint in his sunken blue eyes. Pecan pie. His favorite. But it was made mostly of butter, nuts and corn syrup. The doctor thought it was too rich.

I had to whip up something just as good that would be good for Daddy too. I messed around with a few recipes and, after some trial and error, baked a batch of pecan pie muffins. I thought they were delicious. But would Daddy?

You bet he did. He was crazy for them. Even when he didn't feel like having any he'd wrap one up and put it in a drawer, "just in case."

Pretty soon his visitors wanted muffins too. Even his nurse, Winnie. "Sorry," he'd tease, "but my daughter made them just for me." It was the one thing I could do for him while doctors, chemo and everything else did its best. It was our special bond through a very hard time.

Daddy died in August 2003. I quit making the muffins. It was too painful. Then one morning Winnie called. "I was thinking of your daddy and those pecan muffins. Think you could make a batch for me?"

It was the least I could do for the woman who'd taken such good care of my father. I chopped up the pecans and added the other ingredients, tears rolling down my cheeks. Lord, I said, I miss Daddy. Help me with my grief.

Six muffins. I wrapped them in a towel and put them into a basket to take to Winnie. I cried and laughed on my way over, remembering how Daddy would hoard them all. I pulled up to Winnie's and checked the muffins again. I counted them…and counted them again. There were only five muffins! They'd never left my sight, yet somehow one was missing.

Daddy might have been gone, but at that moment I could feel him close to me. Like the warm lingering smell of a fresh-baked muffin.

Try these Pecan Pie Muffins in your kitchen!

View Comments