Research and Lemons

Steven Harper PiziksWhile doing some research for my current work, I came across a set of recipes–and a deadly superstition.

The first was for Atlantic Beach Pie, a dessert from the mid-Atlantic states. It sounded strange: a lemon custard pie on a saltine cracker crust. But intriguing. Would it work? I had to try it.

As a bonus, the recipe was advertised as easy, and it was.  Saltines and butter for the crust.  Condensed milk with egg yolks and lemon juice for the filling.  Bake until done.  It came out beautifully!

While I was researching this recipe, I learned of an old superstition that said if you ate dessert after a meal of seafood, you would die.  Not get sick–DIE!  This superstition (which is apparently related to the one that says you need to wait an hour to go swimming after you eat) is still believed by some people today, in fact. I’d never heard of it.  Anyone out there come across this or grow up with it?

Anyway, Atlantic Beach Pie is the one dessert you could eat after a meal of seafood, though the reasoning is vague.  Possibly it has something to do with the way lemon goes with fish.

If you want to test the superstition, the recipe is here <>.

I also whipped up the lemon mascarpone cookies <>. This involved zesting a pair of lemons with a trusty citrus zester I’d bought a while ago but rarely use.  It looks like a wood file, and I’m always afraid I’ll absently shove into my tool box by mistake.  Maksim wanted to eat the lemons–he’s a strange child–so I sliced them up for him, and he liked them very much.

The cookies were beyond delectable–crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, buttery and lemony at the same time.  Whoo, they’re good.  This recipe is a keeper.

And now the whole house smells like lemons.  Writely research turned up a nice extra!

–Steven Harper Piziks

DANNY on sale now at Book View Cafe.

Danny Large



Research and Lemons — 5 Comments

  1. I adore my citrus zester and use it all the time. On the other hand, the tool cabinet is downstairs in the garage, so maybe that makes me feel more secure about where I’ll put the zester when I’m done?

    Was the pie good? I’m intrigued.

  2. Years ago my 90+ year old aunt got in a dither because I went to shower and wash my hair right after a meal!

  3. Oh, the “wait an hour after eating before swimming” thing used to drive me CRAZY as a child. I’d almost forgotten about it.

    Those cookies do look good…

  4. Are you all insane? You have to wait three hours after a meal before bathing! No, I don’t believe it either, but I was raised like that, including the “otherwise you die” bit. In Italy it’s discussed openly on TV every summer.

  5. The “no swimming for an hour” crap also drove me nuts when I was a kid–and my mother was a NURSE, who should have known better. Why we were able to run and climb on playground equipment and play softball and do any other form of exercise without harm, but somehow swimming would be the death of us, never made sense to me, and not one adult was able to explain it. “Everyone knows that,” they’d say. It’s a superstition that needs to go, and I’m glad it’s pretty much dead.

    The pie was perfect and wonderful. The sweet and tangy custard contrasted with the salty crust. It was great!