Tag Archives: Florida

Ode to Jonathan on His 30th Birthday

Oh, my beloved Jonathan, you’re one of my favorite people and when you turn 30 it’s a really big deal; but what can I do to honor you and accurately portray how I feel?

I wish I could have hopped on a plane to see you in Atlanta for the real celebration; but, sadly, I’m broke and we live in entirely different parts of this great nation.

So, stuck in Brooklyn, I pondered, “What’s a girl to do?”; and that’s when I realized my only choice was to compose an ode to you…:

We didn’t have much time together in high school before we graduated in 1998; but we kept in touch — even though we went to college far, far apart — which surely must have been FATE.

I have fond memories of the 69 Boyz blaring from Javy, which is what you named your car; and you said it hurt your heart when pictures of me surfaced at a Florida Gators bar.

(I swear I didn’t know they were playing UGA that day!; I had a homesick friend from Florida, but felt like a traitor and wouldn’t have otherwise been compelled to stay!)

You were mesmerized by the Wall of Lisa in Auntie Leslie’s hall; and a waiter called me “jailbait” when I was dining at Chevy’s with y’all. (…that’s you and Katie…)

You listened to me freak out in a parking lot when a teetotaler caught me with a bottle of wine; and you helped me unearth a pink bikini in Miami that — shockingly — looked fine.

You were my date to a wedding when there wasn’t a straight boy in sight; and then I bowled barefoot and passed out on you in the car home that night.

My own father joked (to you!) that I’d have to be tackled and sedated on *my* wedding day; and, if anybody understands what that truly means, it’s you, my friend who’s gay. (I’m sorry! Bad rhyme!)

Bring it On always makes me think of you; and one of my favorite text messages of all time was when you wrote, “Wisconsin smells like poo.”

You’ll always be my buddy Jenelope; even though (or directly because?) you’ve never big-worded me.

So here’s to another decade I know will see you in good stead; Love — one of your biggest fans! — LaFred.

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Filed under baseball, birthdays, Javy

Going — Pardon Me — Bananas

Well, folks, I’m coming to realize that writing about food doesn’t bring me nearly as much joy as it used to…or maybe it’s that I’ve come to embrace self-involvement and can finally admit that writing about myself is much more enjoyable.

Either way, it’s been a long time since I’ve written about food — and only food. So…any of you old school Tasty Lacy’s fans who are still with me — and have disapproved of recent off-topic jaunts — will hopefully find solace in the following paragraphs.

Last Saturday — January 23 — was National Pie Day. So, yes, this post is very much belated. But…it’s still coming in with plenty of time for Pi Day on March 14 — you still have about six weeks to prepare. And…because I still feel guilty nearly a year later for stiffing the woman who bet on my pie lesson at the Social Media for Social Change auction last April, I wanted to humbly offer up some Pie Tips — or what I envision I would have passed on to her during that lesson she never received.

So, without further ado: All My Secrets That Are Too Late For Pie Day, But Are Just in Time for Pi Day…

1. Make sure the water you use for your crust is ice-cold. Some books/experts will tell you to refrigerate your crust before you roll it out. I say don’t bother. Instead, I just make measuring out the water my first step and throw in a couple of ice cubes while I’m at it and let it get nice and cold while I’m measuring flour and Crisco. That’s it.

2. Invest in a pastry blender if you don’t already have one. This may gross out some of you, but I really like to use my hands when mixing a crust…and I’ve found it’s a lot easier if you mix the flour/Crisco with a pastry blender first to get it started…and *then* use your hands to finish it and get those nice flaky bits. Besides, your hands are going to get gross and Crisc0-y when you roll it out anyway…so I figure you might as well dig in early on. But only after using a pastry blender or it’ll take you forever.

3. A pie crust shield will change your life. Sure, you can use strips of foil over and over again. But…it’s not very green *and*, quite frankly, it’s a pain in the ass to fold those stupid strips over each other and to get them to stay put. And then you have to be uber-careful when putting the pie in the oven because you don’t want one of those delicate strips to fall off. So…I say, “Screw the strips!” and you should cough up the — ahem — dough for a pie crust shield that you can just throw on top of pies time and time again.

That’s basically it. I wish I had more tricks up my sleeve…but, to be honest, I really think the secret to making good pies is a lot of practice. My aunt makes the most beautiful pies…and she’s been making them for years. I hope that if I keep this up that I’ll, for example, eventually be able to roll out a top crust and place it over the bottom crust and pinch the edges and not have any excess on the sides. I think in pie terms, that’s the sign that you’ve truly made it.

But, sadly (or not so much…), I didn’t actually make a regular crust for NPD 2010. (And, despite my earlier assertion that it’s really all about me and, “To heck with food blogging!”, I *would* like to do an experiment and compare a Crisco crust to a lard crust. I think it would be fascinating! Honestly. And maybe it’ll be a good project for 3/14. We’ll see.)

In the meantime…I knew there was no way I could possibly recreate the magic of NPD 2009 — thanks, in part, to Franimate, Social Medium and Half-Man/Half-Press-Release — so, as I noted in my “Come Celebrate NPD 2010 with Me”-email (and maybe even in my last blog post?), I was on the fence about celebrating this year…but I ultimately decided I’d regret it if I didn’t. And, plus, I’m on this big traditions kick, and it would make me very much a hypocrite if I let the opportunity to firmly establish a yearly pie tradition pass me by. So. I decided to make Emeril’s banana cream pie (while my folks were driving back from Tennessee, they stopped at a restaurant — I guess one of Emeril’s in Florida, Mississippi or Louisiana [thanks to Popeye’s, I heard, “Louisiana…Fast!” in my head as I typed that] — and couldn’t get his banana cream pie and it was supposed to be the best banana cream pie ever and my mom was really disappointed). And…it turns out that Emeril’s banana cream pie has a graham cracker crust.

A quick review: This is one damn good pie. And I find that I say that every time I have to make my own pudding…which begs the question why I don’t make my own pudding more often. It called for an awful lot of actual bananas cut up and placed ON the pudding…and I decided that it would be prettier if I made some whipped cream and whacked it on top and then gently flung caramel sauce across it…which was a good idea in theory…but my caramel sauce was a little too warm when I flung it and so it melted the whipped cream a bit…and, as per usual, the pie could have been prettier. But…it was good! So…no harm, no foul.

The problem *now* is that I have all these bananas left over…and so I was trying to dream up banana recipes to get rid of them. Normally I’d make banana bread, but my friend contributed a loaf to Pie Day…and so I was actually thinking about banana fritters for a bit. My mom used to make them when I was little. I have fond memories. There’s a banana fritters recipe in our family cookbook…and so, just out of curiosity, I asked my mother where she got it and she said it was actually my paternal grandmother’s…and I was still interested in learning more about fritters in general, so I Googled and they appear to be a Southern thing…or kind of Soul Food-y or Caribbean-y…or even something that hails from West Africa, according to Epicurious…which sort of surprised me. I have no idea where my Norwegian grandmother — who lived virtually her entire life in San Francisco — originally got the recipe.

But, after all that, I don’t think I’m going to make fritters…I have this hunch that it’s one of those things that was really great as a kid but that might be a little heavy for the Lisa of today to eat over and over again. Instead, I think those bananas are going to become filling for my favorite empanadas. So…in addition to a freelance piece and officially finishing my proposal (…knock on wood…), that’s what I’ll be making this afternoon…and consuming this week.

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Filed under bananas, blogs, books, Brooklyn, holidays, pie, pudding

Pie News: #4, Sniffing Around, Scary Crocs, BS Down Under, REALLY Fresh Breath, Sex on Skates, & Flying In for Some Crab Cakes

Hi! I’m back! More Pie News! *Slightly* dated, but still totally worth it.

First up: Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage. So…surely some wedding pies are in order! Taste of Home — which the aunt-who-taught-me-everything-I-know-about-pie-baking says is gospel in the Midwest…(and *that* is perhaps apropos with Iowa’s recent change of heart as well) — suggests Bride’s Peach Pie for those who aren’t that into cake (or, I suppose, who are *really* into pie). Or! You could go with something slightly more exotic like Hawaiian Wedding Pie. Just think! It could taste like you are already on your honeymoon while you’re still at your reception!

And…a recent study finds that women have a better sense of smell than men do. (Insert obvious feminist joke here…) It goes on to say that this helps them find mates, etc., etc. So…what better way to acknowledge femalekind’s evolutionary gift than with a pie with harmonizing flavors (since superior sniffing is supposed to help women find, ahem, complementary partners)…like this Black and Blueberry Pie? (And…perhaps all the single ladies still out there can *make* one and it will help them get a ring on it?)

Bad segue, but…dying alone isn’t the only fear making headlines this week! A surge in the crocodile population has some South Florida residents concerned as well. If *you* are scared to go out, why not stay indoors and make Florida Pie? I hear it’s like key lime pie, but with coconut!

And…shifting gears from real animals to mythical ones: Our favorite pop tart continues her rise like a proverbial phoenix and may take her tour to Australia. To help her adjust to the way of life Down Under (don’t the toilets flush the other way?) I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest something I’ve never done before — a savory pie: Australian Meat Pie.

In other celeb news, not only did Javy Lopez‘s (two links!) former team beat the Yankees on Monday, they did so handily. Who knew birds could be that tough? “Never fear!” says one Cajun cooking website. You can actually make make Black Bird Pie with REAL birds if you want *and* you won’t have to worry about tenderness as long as you cook them long enough.

And…in odder news, in Germany, police are on the lookout for a man who tried to steal 68 tubes of toothpaste from a supermarket. A man willing to go to such lengths for dental hygiene deserves a one-of-a-kind pie! How about Guy Fieri‘s Breath Mint Pie?

And because no one cares about women’s sports and that is sad, I would like to point out that the Universities of Connecticut and Louisville were battling it out in the women’s national championship game last night (U-Conn won). And since I played basketball in Mississippi (or, rather, since I was on the team in ‘Sippi), why not make a Mississippi Mud Pie on behalf of female basketball players everywhere? Epicurious surprised me — it only has Mississippi Mud Cake…which got me thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of Mississippi Mud as cake before…the phrase has always been followed by “Pie” in my head. Thankfully, FoodNetwork.com has a recipe: Mississippi Mud Pie.

And…speaking of lesser known parts of the globe, Wasilla, Alaska’s Levi Johnston appeared on Tyra (“Tyra mail!”) to tell his side of the preggers teen story and the Palin camp ain’t pleased. So, let’s throw another savory pie into the mix with some Alaska Salmon Pie (Aww…the Riverboat Discovery…) as we ponder what’s next for the guy New York mag called “Sex on Skates.”

And…speaking of not-so-far-off places, Southwest Airlines says it will begin service between LaGuardia and Chicago and Baltimore. So, while planning your next quick getaway from New York, why not prepare Southwest Zucchini Pie? (Just don’t drink too much.)

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Filed under Alaska, baseball, feminism, Food Network, Javy, Mississippi, Palin, pie, Sonoma County