I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Barbara Diem to catch up on her life. She was available to meet midday, as she was on vacation from her job at Devereux, located in the Devon area, where she shares her talents as a program specialist at the foundation.
As an only child, she grew up in the Fairview Village section of Montgomery County. After graduating from Methacton High School, she went to West Chester University. She received a degree in music education with a major in oboe. Barbara rarely plays the oboe these days but does play the saxophone. She received a certification in special education from Immaculata.
She remained in West Chester for the next 17 years before relocating to Phoenixville 15 years ago to be closer to her mother, Susan. She lived on the northside of town until this past June, at which time she found a house in Spring City to her liking.
After 30 years of living by herself, she has acquired a housemate. Barbara and Georgiann Rogers seems to be hitting it off just fine. One reason is Barbara doesn’t like to cook, where Georgiann is a great cook. Two furry dogs, Jake and Sam, along with Skeeter the cat, round out the household.
Barbara has many talents and interests. She drove a cab for several years and was a folk singer — both solo and with a trio. For many years, she worked as a florist in the West Chester area.
Barbara loves to garden, but recently with moving to the new house, she be will be planning to have a garden up and running for next year. She especially likes flowers but also grows tomatoes, etc.
She is planning on renovating the garage or basement into a studio. A talented artist whose expertise is on canvas, wood carving and some photography, she is known to be one of those to show up on the “High Bridge” to shoot sunsets. She finds water, especially the ocean, very calming and shares her vision on canvas.
She doesn’t travel too much. Barbara proudly calls herself a “homebody.” She loves her home and the peace it brings to her.
Barbara and I first met when she volunteered to help divide the bounty received for “Fill The Shelves for After the Holidays” in January 2018. She, along with the other volunteers, did a great job.
Barbara celebrated her birthday on Sept. 21. She always requests a banana cream pie instead of a birthday cake each year. So to celebrate her birthday, here is a recipe for the pie.
BANANA CREAM PIE
1 9-inch premade graham cracker crust
3 large bananas — sliced
6 large egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
¾ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Combine egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt, and whisk. Heat milk in a small pot until bubbles start to form around the edges. Add milk (a little at a time) to the egg mixture, whisking to combine. Transfer milk/egg mixture back into a pot. At medium-low heat, cook the cream, whisking until thickened. Add in vanilla. Pour the cream through a fine mesh strainer in a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours. Whip the ½ cup cold whipping cream, and fold into cream mixture. Place a layer of sliced bananas on bottom of graham cracker crust, and top with half of the cream mixture even on top. Place another layer of bananas over the filling. Spread the remaining cream mixture on the top. Whip topping for garnish along with additional banana slices.
Let Bette hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.