ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Brittany Volk was tired of bingeing Lost and E.R.
The graphic designer at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital was weary of the loneliness, the tedium, the no-good pandemic blues.
"I was a single woman at the start of the pandemic, and I needed something to do to keep busy, because I couldn't see my friends," Volk says.
So she decided to get off the couch and bake a pie.
Salted caramel apple pie, as a matter of fact.
"One thing I learned with pie-making is that it's not about being perfect," Volk says. "Nothing is going to be perfect."
And what a lesson for muddled modern times!
So she baked another.
Brittany found her culinary guiding lights online. She'd always loved to cook, but her DIY pie skills, especially intricate braiding and lattice work, which is now her signature, turned out to be downright dazzling.
Apple ombre pie. Blackberry chai pie. French silk chocolate pie.
Even World Series pies with intricate lettering for the hometown Rays and the evil Dodgers.
Her must-follow Instagram page lit up with playful crust-acular creations, each one more delicious and eye-popping than the next.
"This isn't a side-hustle," Volk says, still having no intention of selling her incredible edible works of art. "This is a hobby. Right now, I'm baking just for family and friends."
And when the pandemic eventually allowed it, she safely took those gorgeous pies to all her friends and family, lifting not just her own spirits but those of others.
"I mean, I can't eat a pie all by myself," Volk smiles.
She even found love online when a potential paramour unleashed a doozy pickup line: He wanted to find someone with whom to share pie.
It's one heck of a story, and Brittany has since been courted by local newspapers and television stations to tell it and bake it. She hopes her tasty tale encourages others to find their own smiles.
And not in Lost and E.R. reruns.
"I'm hoping to inspire other people to find something that makes them happy that's not on their screens," Volk says.