Visiting an American classic: key lime pie

27 Apr

Pucker up, baby!

In the summer, I make key lime pie all the time. What’s not to love? It’s cool, creamy and tangy. It’s also super easy to make and requires only four ingredients. It makes a great breakfast snack at any time of the day!

The limes used in key lime pie are, of course, key limes, as opposed to the Persian limes you find in the store. Key limes are tarter, smaller and more rare than the Persian variety.

Key lime pie was invented in the Florida Keys. Legend has it that sponge divers were the first to whip up the pie. Apparently they had a lot of sweetened condensed milk to use up. Hmm, what can we put with this stuff? We DO have a ton of limes laying around….

Since key lime pie’s invention, Floridians have quarreled about what makes a pie authentic – graham cracker crust or no? Meringue or whipped cream topping? The one thing everybody agrees on is that if a key lime pie is green, it’s not the real deal. Key lime juice and the egg yolks in key lime pie are both decidedly yellow.

The Florida Keys hold more than elusive key limes. South Florida boasts a laid-back atmosphere that often comes within close vicinity to the beach. Tourists stream in for swimming, snorkeling, fishing and every water sport imaginable.

The ocean used to scare me out of my wits. I mean, you’re swimming in a large body of water that contains millions of (terrifying) creatures and plants and even underwater mountains! Plus, two of my siblings have been stung by jellyfish, and a shark swam right past me when I was 12. For real. It wasn’t a really big fish, I promise!

Despite my salty scars, long-lost treasure from the ocean has always intrigued me. At the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, they have the largest collection of 17th-century artifacts salvaged from shipwrecks, including Spanish jewelry and relics from a British slave vessel.

Apart from the ocean, they know how to party in the Keys. Cuban culture abounds in southern Florida, and last year during the aptly named Cuban Fest, revelers participated in a coast-to-coast conga line. Olé!

I’ll leave you with an awesome fact about a man who felt even more strongly about his pie than I do. In 1965, Florida representative Bernie Papy, Jr. proposed a legislature demanding a $100 fine from anyone who advertised key lime pie but didn’t use real key limes in it. The legislature did not pass.


3 Responses to “Visiting an American classic: key lime pie”

  1. Cara April 27, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Your paragraph about the terrifying ocean made me literally laugh out loud.

  2. Ko April 29, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    Mmm… I would love me some key lime pie, right about now. It’s so hot and I need some refreshing desert… with some cream soda?!? 🙂 What do you suggest?

    • cabergthold April 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      Not cream soda! You know, I haven’t found any drink that goes with key lime pie. It’s best a la mode 🙂

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