Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Willie Nelson needs to hear about this one

Because if Willie did hear about it, he'd immediately gather the necessary forces to hold the first of many annual Lemon-Aid concerts.

Don't believe me? Read on.

Today's gustatorial guttersnipe comes courtesy of Pass The Plate, a community cookbook published by Christ Episcopal Church in New Bern, North Carolina. (And they wonder why there is schism in the Church!)

Actually, Pass the Plate is a fantastic cookbook. It has a lot of great-sounding recipes. I don't think it's going too far to argue that Pass the Plate is exemplary of community cookbooks at their best. It passes the ultimate test of cookbook quality; it has a spiral binding, it includes the names of the women who submitted the recipes, and the recipes underwent minimal editing. I mean, I think the committee published every recipe they got, which means that just in the dessert section alone, great grandmother's secret Tea Cake recipe jostles for attention with grandmother Sigridür Hall's Icelandic Vinarterta, five million recipes featuring Cool-Whip, and Ann Lander's Lemon Meringue Pie. (Tsk, tsk. Weren't you supposed to send Ann a little money and a self-addressed envelope for that one? I think her estate might sue.)

At any rate, we have Dollie Mallard Kellum (Mrs. Norman, Sr.) to thank for

Lemonade Meringue Pie

1 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 4 1/2-5-ounce) regular vanilla pudding mix
11/4 cups milk
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 9-inch baked pie shell

3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar

OK, so right away I'll note that no, this recipe doesn't include any guts, and it doesn't even include Cool-Whip, so what's my problem, right? Picky, picky, picky.

(I'll also note that I'm leaving off the directions because I don't want you making this pie. And I'm afraid that you'll be fooled, due to this recipe's lack of offal and Cool-Whip, into making it. So no, I'm not including the instructions, and you can't make me.)

I suppose now is a good time to admit that I don't particularly like lemon meringue pie. And maybe there isn't a version anywhere that would thrill me. But the thing is, we already had a perfectly good bastardized convenience-food version of lemon meringue pie. The one with the can of sweetened condensed milk. The one that has made it almost impossible to find a lemon meringue pie made without sweetened condensed milk. To wit:

Magic Lemon Pie

1 (8- or 9-inch) crumb or baked pie shell
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/2 cup lemon juice from concentrate
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, if desired
4 tablespoons sugar

See? We already had the bastard pie with the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice from concentrate. Was it absolutely necessary to create an all-new and different bastard pie using pudding mix and frozen lemonade concentrate?

I ask you.

Somewhere out there, an actual lemon is weeping.