Tag Archives: NPR

Facebook Pie: Atlantic Beach Pie

If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it?

If I’m being completely honest, I’d at least consider jumping off the bridge. Maybe there’s a big trampoline beneath the bridge. Or maybe there’s a beautiful lake filled with mermen. Sure, you MIGHT plummet to your death, but what if you were plummeting whilst being surrounded by the gorgeous vistas of the PCH?

The point is, just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s always a bad thing. Sometimes it’s a bad thing (e.g., reading Twilight, watching Twilight, admitting you’ve read/watched Twilight). But it really isn’t always.

A few weeks ago, my friend Shaun told me about this pie she’d heard about on NPR called the Atlantic Beach Pie. It was a pie that was made at seafood restaurants in North Carolina back in the day. The theory was if you ate seafood, you really shouldn’t eat dessert because it would make you deathly ill. All desserts, except for this one.

Then I saw the recipe posted on Food52. I posted it to Shaun’s Facebook page and I started noticing it EVERYWHERE. Everyone was making it. Anna made it (and then made it again), then Alison made it, and so on and so forth. My friend Seton’s mom even called her, saying she was going to make ‘the Facebook pie.’ We were all jumping off the proverbial bridge together. And landing in a creamy, delicious pool of citrusy custard and whipped cream.

You want to believe that this pie is going to be weird. It has a saltine cracker crust. But one of my favorite treats is saltine toffee, which is simple, rich and salty-sweet goodness. (Note to self: make saltine toffee soon.)

Start with softened butter, smooshed up saltines and sugar and knead it all together into a ‘dough.’ I couldn’t get the saltine crumbs to come together. So I added a little more butter. Than a little more butter. Than it was almost another whole stick of butter. OOPS, MADE IT MORE DELICIOUS.

After a brief rest in the fridge, you bake the crust off, whisk all the remaining ingredients together, pour and rebake.

Seriously, I think the hardest thing about this pie is waiting for it to be cold enough to eat.

Go ahead, make this pie. Everybody’s doing it.

Pre-Whipped Cream. Or, Pre-Perfection.

Pre-Whipped Cream. Or, Pre-Perfection.

Atlantic Beach Pie, via Food52

For the crust:

  • 1 ½ sleeves of saltine crackers (about 6 ounces or 60 crackers)
  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter
  • tablespoons sugar
For the filling:

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • egg yolks
  • ½ cup lemon or lime juice or a mix of the two
  • Fresh whipped cream, for garnish
  • Coarse sea salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Crush the crackers finely, but not to dust. You can use a food processor or your hands. (Just use your hands) Add the sugar, then knead in the butter until the crumbs hold together like dough. Press into an 8-inch pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes, then bake for 18 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), beat the egg yolks into the milk, then beat in the citrus juice. It is important to completely combine these ingredients. Pour into the shell and bake for 16 minutes until the filling has set. The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with fresh whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Second piece. I ain't ashamed.

Second piece. I ain’t ashamed.

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You Watch Your Phraseology!

I read this post on NPR’s site the other day about a new documentary produced by Chef Tom Colicchio, A Place at the Table.

Now, I haven’t seen the movie yet. It’s just out in theatres and OnDemand. But it has to do with the 50 million Americans that are food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal is coming from. Of those 50 million Americans, 17 million are children. That’s a tragedy.

Here ends the serious portion of this post.

The REAL tragedy here is the phraseology “food insecure” and it’s flip side, “food secure.”

It hits my ear wrong, y’all.

Now, It’s not a new phrase. It’s been around since at least 1996, according to the World Health Organization website.

I hear food insecure and conjure up the image of a Stepford wife going “I don’t know, Jameson, do you think I should serve this gem lettuce with these English peas?” Or, “is it going to be offensive to serve a Malbec with halibut? This dinner HAS to be a success.”

It makes something really important sound really trivial to me.

The flip side, food secure, makes more sense to me. But only if you know the context. “I am secure because I know where my next meal will come from.” I still struggle with it, though. In an age where food so often is genetically modified, couldn’t “food security” be referring to food that is safe and unmodified, hence, secure? Without the context, isn’t the phrase meaningless?

I conducted EXTENSIVE research amongst my friends and family to see if people were aware of the phrase. (Ok, I talked to 4 friends and 1 family: my dad.) None of them were, but my dad was able to intuit the meaning because he is a wizard.

Here’s the thing. If nobody has heard of it (and I grant you, this was a very small group), what’s the point of the phrase? Why not just say “underfed” or “improperly nourished”? Those are saying the same things using real words. You know, real words that already have meaning. Wouldn’t that have more impact vs. an unknown phrase that is falling on deaf ears? 

I know that’s not the actual, real point. The point is to bring awareness to a real issue. An issue that, per the movie’s website, could be solved. Which would solve a real tragedy vs. a fake semantical one.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled frivolity.

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