Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

It's a classic!

Sunday afternoon.

What did anyone else have for lunch?

We had

Meat Loaf
Fresh Green Beans
Fresh Butter Beans
Fried Okra
Sweet Tea
Cherry/Pineapple Cobbler
Vanilla Ice Cream
I don't enjoy that kind of heavy food during the week, but I love it for Sunday lunch.
Only in the South we always called it Sunday dinner.
Roast, Rice, English Peas, Rolls and Sweet Tea
That's another favorite menu. Add to that Pear Salad...ahhhh. I love it. That would be two canned pear halves on a lettuce leaf, tiny dollop of mayo, topped with grated cheese.
Love pie for dessert on Sunday. Chocolate Meringue or Coconut Cream with Meringue. Or Egg Custard. I don't make egg custard pie very often but it's one of my favorites. As a child I declared it my favorite. Recently Ann requested that I make it. So I pulled out "the famous recipe". By that I mean it was Mrs. Snowden's recipe.
Mr. and Mrs. Snowden were our neighbors on our right, facing the street, Williams Street. They had 5 adult daughters. Well, one was still a teenager when we first lived there. I was only 3 so she seemed like an adult. She soon graduated and married and lived away. On the other side of Mr. and Mrs. Snowden lived Betty Ruth and Harry Engle and their two sons. The youngest, Harry Jr., was my age and we all called him Poonkey. He was really really short and I was tall for my age. But we were buddies and spent a lot of time at my house, at his house and at Mrs. Snowden's house.
In those days neighbors were very very very neighborly. Mother was so connected to all the ladies, every age, on our street. Our culture had not yet padlocked itself into its individual homes. For really good communication adults had to get outside the house and talk and invite one another over for coffee or a grilled hamburger in the summer. Or adults would just stand and talk while working in the yard and the kids would play. We were all over that street, the kids. And we watched all the houses go up and we played in and outside one another's homes. Mostly outside.
But about Mrs. Snowden and her recipe.
She made great Egg Custard Pie - the best. It was always thick and didn't settle down into a flat filling. We loved it and she knew we did. I guess when she made one she made several and she was generous to share it with us. Mrs. Snowden was especially good natured. So kind and pleasant - always smiling and in a really genuinely good mood. One evening we had had an early dinner. It might have been lunch, but I think it was an early summer dinner. Not yet dark and we, the four of us, Mother, Daddy, Mary Ann and I, were sitting around the table - having finished our meal and wishing for a good dessert. One of us, either myself or Mother, knew that Mrs. Snowden had been baking Egg Custard Pies that day - plural. Mom said almost in jest that she could send one of us over to borrow a cup of sugar or flour from Mrs. Snowden and we just knew she'd send some pie back along with the cup of whatever. I immediately volunteered to go over. I did. I knocked on her back screen door - I can just see her kitchen and the whole inside of her house. I love thinking about it and about her. She was so dear. Always a smile. I asked to borrow the cup of something and she eagerly got that and then grabbed a whole pie and sent it back with me. In I walked, through our back door, with that pie - Mother, Daddy, & Mary Ann were still sitting at the table waiting. Call us deceptive if you like - we just hated to come right out and go over and ask for the pie - but we knew her heart and that she'd love to give us some pie. We just didn't know how to ask that directly so we opened the way for her to just give it to us.
Years later, after many requests for her recipe, she finally relented. I don't think it was that she didn't want to give it to us - I just don't think she'd ever written it down. It seemed like she didn't really know the exact measurements - But she finally gave me the recipe and I'll share it here on my blog.
It's the very best - not so different from any other egg custard pie recipe - I think it's the "tight fistful" of flour that does the trick. You'll see:
Egg Custard Pie
Mrs. Snowden
6 eggs,
running over cup of sugar,
3 Tblsp butter, melted,
tight fistful of all purpose flour,
2 3/4 cup of milk,
1 tsp vanilla(can use lemon flavoring, too)
Make a pastry shell - unbaked
pour filling into unbaked shell
Bake at 450 degrees for 20 min. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake about 15 or 20 minutes longer, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Mrs. Snowden, on that day she told me the ingredients, I didn't even have pen and paper - Mother and Mary Ann were with me and all three had to commit to memory the ingredients. She didn't tell me the baking time - I looked that up under other egg custard pies. She just called out those ingredients. I think she guesstimated the ingredients when she gave an exact measurement. She'd say, "ooohhh, about....." and then she would say the amount. I think I'm right that we committed all of that to memory. I know I didn't have pen and paper with me or maybe just had a scrap of something and a pen or perhaps wrote it on my hand. I was scrambling because I'd wanted this recipe for soooo long. It was like gold to me.
It's a great pie.

1 comment:

LB said...

oh, that lunch sounds so good to me. Now that I am the adult and responsible for Sunday lunch, I am not good about cooking a real meal, but I still feel a need to plan a meal. We had BLTs with fresh tomatoe, but I wish we had eaten with ya'll. And you know I love pear salad. If I had not grown up eating it, I would think it sounded like the weirdest thing in the world, but I love it!