Stuff and Nonsense: Pie for the memories


12.14.2014

Pie for the memories

When I remember my Grandma G, I remember a woman who liked dancing and having good time. Not for her the domesticity of the kitchen, which is a little odd, because I must have eaten at her house quite a lot as a child. I remember many meals of dinners of meatloaf with brown gravy, canned vegetables, and instant mashed potatoes. And picnics with hot dogs and canned baked beans -- the kind that had the chunk of ham fat in it -- and potato salad covered in slices of hard-cooked eggs.


And lemon meringue pie. My Grandma G had a terrible sweet tooth. Doughnuts, snack cakes, ice cream, chocolates -- she loved them all. But she didn't bake much. Except that lemon meringue pie. My father remembers a six month period in which she was always baking bread, but that stopped as abruptly as it started and was a distant memory by the time I came along to eat ham and cheese sandwiches in her kitchen. Mostly, my Grandma kept her kitchen well stocked with Hostess and Entenmann products. And she was generous -- never turned up at anyone else's home without a box of cherry cheese danish or frosted doughnuts.


But the lemon meringue pie. That she baked. And it was lemony and light and as perfect as lemon meringue pie can be.

So. I thought, this weekend being the second anniversary of her death, I'd bake a lemon meringue pie. Can't bake Grandma G's pie, because I don't have the recipe, so I used the recipe in my red-and-white plaid Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. It's more likely she found hers on the back of a cornstarch or sugar container. Or the newspaper. She was always clipping things from the newspaper.


My pie was both a little burnt and slightly runny, but that's okay. Memories of her pie give me something to strive for. A measuring stick against which to measure all other lemon meringues. And, yes, maybe the pie I remember is better than that pie ever really was, but that's fine. We polish the best memories until they are diamonds and forget or forgive the rest.

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