2017 A to Z: Letter L …
I thought I’d change the on-going 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories of “All About Me”. I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the 30 Day -April A to Z, but thought I might get just a wee bit long-winded, so I’m giving myself a longer time frame. Hopefully, by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!
Letter L is for… Lemon Pie, Library, Letters, and Lightning
The only dessert I remember mama ever made was Lemon Pie… Mama was a cook, not a baker! I have no clue as to how or why she only made this one dessert, but Lemon Pie it was… no chocolate cake, no chocolate chip cookies, no other desserts. This was normal to me!
Lemon Pie at Mama’s!
At holidays we often had other desserts in the house because her customers brought them to the beauty shop, where she worked. The candy that sticks in my head was the Divinity brought in by one of her customers. I remember trying to make it years ago, but not sure if I even remember what it’s supposed to taste like. I may have to give it another try soon.
Mama’s Lemon Pie consists of only 4 ingredients – eggs, lemon juice, condensed milk and graham crackers. I cheat a bit on the graham crust… using a pre-made instead of making my own like mama did. Mama reminded me that the one she made tasted better than the store-bought… guess I’ll have to give it another try!
Neither my husband or son ever took a liking to this pie, but that was OK with my daughter and myself… we didn’t mind “not” sharing! Many times we’d sit together with just the pie dish and two forks – sharing and watching who was eating the most!
If I’ve made you hungry, I’m sharing my recipe!
Mama’s Lemon Pie
- 3 egg yolks (separate eggs, hold whites separately)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (I use 2 cans if I use the larger graham crust)
- 1/2 cup Lemon Juice ( add more to taste if using larger crust)
- 1 graham cracker crust 9-inch or the larger one
- lemon zest – can add some to pie mixture on top afterward; optional
Mix all together in one bowl and pour into unbaked bought crust. Bake 350 oven for about 15 minutes, until set; if it begins to crack on top – it’s overdone. If using the larger crust with 2 cans of condensed milk, maybe 5 minutes more.
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups graham crackers crushed
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 5 Tablespoons melted butter
Mix all together well and pat in pie dish. Bake 350 oven for about 7 minutes. If you buy a pre-made crust – omit this step. Pour mixture in after first baking and then bake again according to the recipe.
Many people add meringue topping… while I don’t, I’m including a recipe for you.
- 2 or 3 egg whites (no yellow flecks or it’ll never whip)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (if you don’t have it, no problem)
- 4 tablespoons sugar (superfine works better, but reg. is ok)
Beat all ingredients with mixer together until peaks form; they whip better if at room temperature; quickly drop onto the top of lemon pie before baking. The peaks will lightly brown as pie cooks. To make meringue, best to use a dry glass or metal bowl – don’t use plastic. I’ve also found that chilling the bowl and beaters help the meringue to whip better; whisking by hand will not result in a fluffy meringue.
I’ve never been fond of meringue, or maybe I was too lazy to take that extra step. I want my pie to hurry up out of the oven! This pie tastes good warm, but it’s very rich tasting; we mostly eat it cold, but I always have a slice right out of the oven. In asking mama where she learned this recipe, she didn’t remember, but I’m glad she discovered it!
Whenever I go to mama’s I usually make a couple of Lemon pies while there, and I always leave one in the fridge before I leave. She never has a problem finishing it!
As I began reading more, I soon discovered the library in town; although I hated using the card catalog and searching the shelf for the book using the Dewey Decimal System. Our Perry library was in the basement of the county courthouse.
Perry, was home to the Houston County Courthouse and our library was housed in the basement level. I always entered through the side doors to walk down to the library.
I don’t remember any specific books that were mandatory reading in school… wonder why that is? My husband remembers a few of his required reading, but I just have no memory of not one single one. About the only classic, I remember reading was The Lord of the Flies… maybe that was one of my required reading books I wrote a report on. Summertime was mostly my fun reading time and I never missed out on joining the Summer Reading Library Club… quickly reading to fill up my card to receive a certificate.
The front desk of the Perry Library in the county courthouse. Mrs. Beavers was the librarian when I went and she was always at the desk… eager to help you find your book or place a star on your summer reading certificate.
My favorite reading material was the autobiographies of all the presidents, inventors and whatever else caught my eye while browsing. I still hadn’t forgotten Nancy Drew, but they were my personal collection of books at home. Mama also enjoyed reading and she usually read whatever I checked out at the library.
Nothing was better than a summer afternoon laying on a quilt, watching the clouds roll by, as I took a journey through my books.
I suppose I must have loved writing letters as a child… I had several pen pals from Hawaii, Canada, England, and Vietnam. I still have those letters today, tucked away in my scrapbooks.
My “Scrapbooks” filled with silly memories…
In Hawaii, I wrote to several girls and even found one of them on Facebook a few years ago. She was so surprised to hear from me… 50 years later! We caught each other up on our lives and even though she wasn’t able to share my original letters back with me, I shared hers. She was excited to show them to her grandchildren so they could see what she wrote and thought about when she was eight years old. Too bad her mom cleaned out her closet when she left home…. my letters went bye-bye! I can’t remember how I came to have pen-pals in Hawaii… I think it was probably through the schools.
As I became a teenager I advanced to “boy” penpals… writing to one in Canada and England. From re-reading some of the letters, it seems I even found penpals for my girlfriends to write to also – his friends. I think I found them through my teen magazines, advertising for pen pals.
By the time I was sixteen, I was still letter writing, but now I’d advanced to older guys – a GI in Vietnam. He picked my letter from a pile of letters – girls looking to write to a service guy. Robert lived in Alabama… maybe he picked me as I was a Southern girl; he nicknamed me Peaches because I was from Georgia.
Letters from my Vietnam GI penpal!
Being lonely over there, he seemed to have fallen in love with me, but I never had those feelings for him. Robert was a K-9 dog handler in Vietnam and very sad when he had to leave his best friend, his German shepherd, behind when he came home. He came to visit me a couple of times after returning to the states… I think hoping for a relationship, but it wasn’t my feelings so I had to break off the continuation of letter writing. I do wonder today what happened to him and hope he had a meaningful life.
My last letter writing adventure was to my husband while he was stationed in Maine and later in Thailand. At least I was smart enough to have saved all those letters! One day my granddaughters or even great-granddaughters might be blogging them. Maybe I better re-read through them before handing them off to my daughter… who has laid claim to those boxed letters!
I’ve never been a fan of thunder and lightning when I’m alone, but if I have company then it’s all ok! I know that thunder can’t hurt me, but I’ll jump sometimes when a really big one comes out of nowhere… sounding like a strike in bowling!
Lightning is awesome to watch… the sky lights up with streaks running through and sometimes seeming to almost hit the ground. Watching it at the beach is really cool as often the lightning runs down to the water… or at least it looks like. Don’t worry, I’m always safe in my car, but what I wouldn’t give to be able to sit on the beach and watch. Lightning always draws me to grab my camera, but I still haven’t mastered the settings fast enough to take that shot. Usually, by the time I’ve finally found my settings, the lightning is gone… I’m too slow!
Mama told me that Granddaddy McKinley loved lightning and whenever a good storm came up, he’d sit out on the front porch in the swing… swinging and singing “You are my Sunshine.”
I’m so jealous of those awesome lightning shots I see online… maybe one day I’ll learn and remember the setting… to finally get my shot!
Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!
© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved