Therapy for The Soul


I know I usually have story about how I learned the recipe or when I have used it and memories attached. This time, however, I do not. Instead, I want to share my recent experience of the kitchen helping me to cope with circumstance.

Wednesday morning, as I was nestling into my Principles of Economics I class, my phone rang with a ‘1-800′ number. I usually ignore these but I answered. I will never forget what I heard on the other line.

“Mr. Rodriguez, we have an alert of a back door intrusion and movement in the living room. Is everything okay?”

My heart sank and at the drop of the hat I was running through campus, faster than ever before. Once I got to my car, I floored it.

When I arrived at my apartment, I busted through the front door and I saw my back door fully open. The doorframe was completely busted and bits of dry wall and wood were scattered throughout the living room.

I have never felt so violated. Who the hell do these scumbags think they are? Luckily, the alarm was able to scare these hoodlums away. The shoeprints in the back show a full-out, cowardly sprint.

Thankfully, the damage and material loss was minimal compared to what it could have been. Without ADT, I could have lost everything.

After I spoke with the police officer and had my door jam repaired, I began to settle down a little bit. The whole ordeal took from 11:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. An entire day wasted.

To calm myself, I returned to the only room where I felt in control, my kitchen. After such a trying day, I wanted to treat myself to something nice so I pulled out my Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts book and flipped through the pages until I found the “Mississippi Mud Pie.”

A simple dessert that was therapeutic to make and doubly delicious. This is also one of those recipes that is easy to tweak and make all your own. I made mine by the recipe and made a basic version of the “Mississippi Mud Pie.”

To change it up, add gummy worms to the chocolate filling or use Oreos for the crust instead of wafers. Instead of wafer cookies, I used the chocolate wafer sticks.

No matter what happens to me in life, I will always have my kitchen to lean on and that brings me comfort when nothing else can. My fears and frustrations have an outlet and it always turns out scrumptious.


Active time: ~30 minutes            Total time: ~5 hours to overnight

Serves: ~8 people


For the crust:

25 chocolate wafer cookies (I used a 14.1-ounce package of the chocolate wafer sticks

1/2 cup pecans

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup of cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups milk

4 large egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the topping: (or you can use canned whipped cream)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. To make the crust, preheat the over to 375 degrees and put wafers and pecans into a food processor and process until it is crumbs. Add melted butter and mix until set. Press crust into a greased 9-inch pie pan and let cool in refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cool.
  2. To make the filling, combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan and slowly stir in milk. Heat over medium-high heat stirring constantly until thick.
  3. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl until combined. Add the milk mixture. Whisk until combined and return to the saucepan to reheat just until it boils. Run through sieve and add butter and vanilla.
  4. Pour filling in crust and let sit in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. To top, use canned whipped cream or whisk ½ cup heavy cream with sugar and salt until peaks form and it becomes whipped cream.
  6. Enjoy!