Looking for Golf in All the Wrong Places

I’m headed home from a long trip to the Northwest, and I really just can’t wait to get home to SoFLA and find out what all you all at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range have been up to in my absence. My apprentice Prentiss at least sent me a message today, just a few hours ago, in fact to tell me she misses me. I suspect she just now noticed that I’ve been gone for a week.

Sue Ten also called to say she’ll be heading out of town shortly after I get back, so the changing of the guard will be quick and efficient. Neither Prentiss nor Sue Ten had much to report. I take this to mean that all is well, or they just really don’t want me to worry about anything in advance. I haven’t heard about any zombie attacks on SoFLA, so I will just hope for the best, and expect the worst, as usual.

In my week in Seattle and points north, I saw very little evidence of golf. There was that one woman on the Bainbridge Ferry, though. Then, in the SeaTac airport this morning, I saw the odd little sculpture below.

Metal Golf Guy, as seen in the SeaTac Airport

Metal Golf Guy, as seen in the SeaTac Airport

I sent a copy of the photo to the Morning Guy, and he did not seem to find it as amusing as I did. I can tell he’s already thinking ahead to long-term maintenance and is worried about me cluttering up the dooryard with such junk. If it were a little smaller, though, it might make a great hood ornament for the E-Z cart, or maybe it could ride on the roof. I’ll have to take that up with Joe Sparkle Junior.

I’ve been passing some of my flight time paging through the “Sky Mall” book, which is my son Chandler’s favorite magazine. His twin sister Rose prefers the parody version, “Sky Maul,” and I have trouble telling the two books apart.

I’d hoped to find some nice golf gadgets in Sky Mall, but I am sadly disappointed. The one true golf item that I can find is a collection of 14 “club links” which are little monogrammed discs to be affixed to one’s clubs. They are available in goldtone, silvertone, or black aluminum; no pink, no Palm Beach green. The message seems to be that these are for people in the habit of losing their clubs. I don’t think I’ll be encouraging this trend: If we help people identify their lost clubs, then we are only cutting down on our supply of rental and “try this” clubs.

I will, however, tell Sue Ten about the Sky Mall’s “Giant 8-in Cupcake” which is supposedly easy to make, and fun to serve. You know as well as I do that she is always looking for something fun to serve, and yes she is still ready to serve. I’m hoping she’ll be joining the FOAS (food on a stick) movement, soon, too. FOAS is not only fun to serve, but can be fun to eat, too, especially FFOAS (fried food on a stick) and DFFOAS (deep-fried food on a stick). Yes, Sue Ten is ready to serve, just like Sarah Palin – remember her? — and I am ready to eat.

Too many days in the Northwest seem to have turned my head to thoughts of warmer clothing, even as I am mere hours from my flip-flops and shorts, so I’ve got to say I am fascinated by the Sky Mall’s “Carbon Fiber Heated Vest.” I’m not quite sure how this works, but I’m all for new technology and I’ve got to tell you that the phrase “laminated microfleece fabric” has the same distracting effect on me as seeing something shiny out of the corner of my eye. Yes, I want it, and I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure it will improve my golf game on nights when the temps in SoFLA dip dangerously below 70. I need to be prepared.

Another tempting item in the catalog is the Kodak EasyShare Wireless Digital Frame, which promises, “The Power of the Internet, Now in Your Picture Frame.” If I can have the Power of the Internet in a picture frame, why not in my golf bag, my pinkie ring, or even my rose tattoo? I’m intrigued.

And, yes, Sky Mall does sell the “Swami Golf GPS” but I think they should combine GPS unit’s “Insta-Lok” technology with their “Electronic Feng Shui Compass,” and if they do that, I’ll be happy to become the exclusive SoFLA distributer. Really, what could be better than GPS Feng Shui – for golfers? Find out how far away the dragon is, align your shot accordingly, live well, and prosper.

Supposedly, the Feng Shui compass operates “with the same compass technology used in aerospace guidance systems,” and that’s not all! It also locates and calculates energy fields to help you align your physical surroundings. I can’t wait to get one of those for the driving range. We may have to move a few palm trees around, and reroute our feral green iguana Hercules on his daily stroll, but I’m sure this will all pay off in better golf for all of us, with or without the Swami GPS Golf option.

All right, my dears. We are just about to land, and you know I’ll soon be out on the range under the lights, so come on by. I’ve got hours to go before I sleep, but if I don’t see you tonight, I hope to visit with you soon at the pie shop. Remember, Prentiss and I are a long way from finding the perfect slice of Key lime, so send in your pictures and recipes, or drop in and sample our latest possibilities.

A Couple More Slices of Key Lime Pie

At least this time I remembered the camera.

All right, my dears, I did find Key lime in the Northwest, despite our initial stumbling block of the possibility that it might truly turn out to be a “seasonal” dish. Seriously: They’ve got a point. January is not a good time for the Washington State citrus crop.

Here’s a shot of the pie served at Flyers in Oak Harbor, Washington.

Flyers Pie

Flyers Pie

Flyers was a fun place to meet and eat. I did enjoy the aeronautical theme, and general exuberance of the place. Or maybe that was just the exuberance of my dining companions? For dinner, I had a “prime rib dip” which I’d known in a former life as a “French dip,” but I guess I should just be happy that they didn’t call it a “Freedom dip.”

I should never order this sandwich because I know it will never be as good as the one I had at the Limelight Cafe in Denver in 1972, but I am – as well you know by now – an optimist. Golf, after all, is a game for optimists, and so is the search for the perfect slice of Key lime pie.

Needless to say, the pie at Flyers met our expectations, which were low. We gave them points for presentation, and for adding nuts to the crumb crust, but the overall impression was that the whole concoction had only recently come out of the deep freeze. “Fresh” was not a word that sprang to mind, or to tongue.

The next day, we ventured by ferry to Port Townsend, and enjoyed some time out in the water. Granted, we were inside the ferry with our toes close to the heater, but we were there. I have a vague memory or two of being in Port Townsend before. Maybe you were there with me? I’m pretty sure Little Peach was my chaperone on at least one trip to that part of the world, and I did miss her this time around. She has such a wonderful knack for asking all the right questions, and that’s a gift that I envy. Traveling without her is always difficult, and when I get home, I know I will hardly be able to answer half of her well-placed questions, just because I didn’t ask. Ah, well.

In Port Townsend, this time, I did have a marvelous piece of salmon for lunch, perfect in every way. I left a gold star on the menu on my way out the door. We did give this particular slice of pie high marks for the chocolate crust, yes indeed. I like a little experimentation, when the results pay off.

Port Townsend Pie

Port Townsend Pie

The filling, though, was exceedingly tart. We weren’t surprised, though, since we had already leafed through the restaurant’s cookbook, in fact we bought a copy, so we knew this particular offering was full of lime juice, no mention of fresh limes. At least they did not spoil the pretty presentation with a garnish of Persian lime, and I liked how the whipped cream was a decorative option.

I copied the recipe, which was pretty basic. Just speak up if you want a copy so you can try it out yourself, and let me know what you think. It might be just the ticket to make you think of sunny SoFLA when you, too, are far from home.

National Pie Day Eve

Here it is, the Eve of National Pie Day, and I find myself far from home, wondering how I ever managed to schedule this trip to the Northwest without factoring in the holiday. Ah, well. Prentiss has something planned, I’m sure. I just don’t know what.

To add to my general disappointment in missing the annual festivities at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range, I also discovered that people in the Northwest consider Key lime pie to be a “seasonal” dessert. Excuse me? It’s not like they grow Key limes here and don’t have any fresh ones right now. What can possibly be seasonal about Key lime pie? I am perplexed.

Of course, I ran into a similar situation years ago in Missouri when I went to the local Piggly Wiggly store to buy some salt pork for fish chowder, and was told that salt pork was “seasonal” and therefore unavailable. In that case, though, maybe salt pork is only harvested at certain times of year. Grim thought, and I shall not dwell on it.

Meanwhile, I am pretty sure that golf here is definitely seasonal, and not well played in the fog and/or ice, although I was pleased to see a woman on the ferry travelling with a driver and a putter. If she only had a wedge, she would be carrying all three of the most important clubs, as identified by both Harvey Penick and Ben Hogan.

I am fully enjoying Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, especially his comments on putting, which give me hope. For example, “Nothing is more important psychologically than knocking putts into the hole. Sinking putts makes your confidence soar, and it devastates your opponent.”

I find I am enjoying putting more and more, and I’m looking forward to the day very soon when Joe Sparkle Junior and The Morning Guy finish the work on our new putting green. It’s going a little slower than I would like since The Morning Guy has been distracted, both by football season and his Stepford Girlfriend.

Steppie, meanwhile, has been spending even more time here than usual as she has tried to find the right balance between cooing over her man, and giving him the space he needs to enjoy his football games and his pickled-eggs habit. She’s putting her spare time to good use, though, working on her long game. It’s been a treat to see her carefully lay out her golf balls and practice her swing. I believe she’s been getting advice from the fem-bots, but I can’t be positive on that. I do know she hasn’t worn the same color-coordinated outfit twice in the past week.

I hope you all have a wonderful National Pie Day. I miss you like crazy, and can’t wait to find out what all you all have been up to while I’ve been away. I hope the SoFLA weather will be warm again soon, too. I understand it’s been so cold there recently, that iguanas are falling out of trees. If our resident feral green iguana Hercules lands on someone, preferably my ex-husband Pretty Boy Boyd, the damage could be massive. We can only hope for the best.

Key Lime Pie Test (Rusty Pelican, Biscayne Bay, FL)

I can’t believe that I didn’t take a picture of the pie before I ate it. I guess I’m just not fully committed to pie testing yet, but fortunately we are in the early days of the search and have barely begun to establish our testing parameters and matrices yet. I will, therefore, need to return to The Rusty Pelican in Biscayne Bay in the very near future and sample another piece, preferably with with Prentice the Pie Apprentice in tow.

The Rusty Pelican is perhaps my favorite restaurant in the Greater Miami Area, one that Little Peach and I have visited several times, always with good results and always with a song in our hearts, the song being “Mustang Sally,” but that’s another story.

At any rate, I was happy to go there with a couple of friends who were only going to be in SoFLA overnight, and who were willing to brave the bitter cold to go out for the evening. I had imagined up sitting outside, looking across the bay at the city skyline twinkling in the night, but the 50-degree drizzle forced us inside, which which still a delightful experience.

I had had Key lime pie at the Rusty Pelican before, but years ago, before the search for the perfect slice began, so I had eaten it without the scrutiny it deserved. This time was different.

I thought the presentation was lovely, with the pale yellow filling garnished with a tart green glaze but a floret of whipped cream. Sadly, the slice of lime twisted on top of the whipped cream was of the Persian variety. Ah, well.

The graham cracker crust was innocuous as best, doing nothing to enhance or detract from the firm filling, which was thicker than many, and had a nice tang to it. The best feature of this pie was the super-tart glaze. The whipped cream was bland, but worked well with the glaze.

Over all score: B-plus

Whole Earth Everything, now on the Pie Shop Shelves

I’m excited to discover that the Whole Earth Catalog, including the CoEvolution Quarterly, is now available online. I can only hope that Mad Magazine will soon follow suit and provide me will full access to every single Alfred E. Issue.

In truth, though, I would really rather have hard copy in my hands, and — in the case of Mad — a flashlight, too, so I can read it under the bedcovers after lights out.

While Mad helped grow the the love of lyric poetry that Sue Ten and I still share, CoEvolution helped feed my lust for science, especially science that involves space exploration and the concept of other worlds, yet to be explored. Okay, I’ll admit that Star Trek did that, too, but CoEvolution made it seem legit.

I was living in the high desert of Arizona, far from my beloved ‘Glades, when I was a truly avid reader of CoEvolution, and I often succumbed to the temptation to follow direct mail links, much as I now back link through blog posts. Of course, it was different in a small southwestern town, where the post mistress pretty much knew everything about me from reading my incoming postcards, not the mention the occasional incoming coconut.

So, I’m sure she was not at all surprised when my subscription to CoEvolution let to a membership in the L-5 society, which in turn led to stranger and stranger letters of solicitation from people needing money to build their own space ships. I wonder how they made out.  I would have donated more to the cause myself, but I really had enough trouble at the post office already.

I did just now do a quick search through the Whole Earth website index, and was disappointed not to find more positive reference to golf, or pie. I was sure they would at least mention the zen value of The Inner Game of Golf, and I was absolutely stunned not to find some whole-grain inedible pie recipes. Still, it was fun to revisit the space colony pages and imagine a future where we can all be together in a world of our own, where our priorities center around golf, pie, science, and poetry.

Oh, wait. We already have that, right here at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range. All we need now is you.

You Are Here!
You Are Here!

Key Lime Pie: The Search Begins

I was a little startled lately to read that “key limes are the pink flamingos of Florida food, and they are a celebrated part of local color.” I don’t know what startled me more, the confusion of the color of the limes with pink or the realization that I have, apparently, missed the local key lime festival again this year.

I presume that the author was referring to the rarity of both flamingos and key limes, at least in Florida. There are flamingos in other parts of the world, and the same is true for “key limes” which are actually from Malaysia. How interesting, I think, that two items that say “Florida” to so many people are, in fact, phantoms from a not too distance past before plume hunters, hurricanes, and civilization tore through SoFLA.

Meanwhile, Prentiss and I are starting our search for the perfect Key lime pie. The challenge begins with some basic questions: Graham-cracker or pastry crust? Meringue or whipped cream? Cooked or uncooked filling? Fresh limes or lime juice? And, of course, can a Key lime pie be made with regular, old, every day, produce department limes?

We’ll let you know how our studies progress. I’m all for trying out a gingersnap crust, and I’m totally opposed to making the pie with any time of lime but a true “key,” but on the other hand, I’d rather use bottled juice from real Key limes than use fresh limes that aren’t Key at all.

Prentiss and I do agree, however, with the no green food coloring rule, and we’ll immediately rule out any recipe that even hints at artificial color.

I’ve been studying up a little on the history of the Key lime, and I’m not surprised to learn that no one knows who made the first Key lime pie. After all, who made the first apple pie, chocolate silk pie, or Alan Shepard pie. Oh, wait, that last one would be me.

It is possible, however, that the first Key lime pie of not was made by one “Aunt Sally,” the cook for one William Curry, who laid the foundation of his fortune as a “ship salvager” in the mid-1800s. Today, the staff at the Curry Mansion Inn in Key West still crank out the pies. Perhaps a field trip is in order to investigate the current incarnation of Aunt Sally’s pie.

There is, supposedly, no record of a written Key lime pie recipe written down before the 1930s. The supposition that “everyone just knew how to make the pie” puzzles me, because now I want to know how “everyone” forgot to make the pie. Was there a plague of amnesia, as there was in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude? Was there perhaps a cataclysm or sorts, wiping out the knowing bakers? Or did the Key lime pie bakers decide en masse to take their knowledge with them to the grave? Or elsewhere?

Here’s another aspect of Key lime pie history. A crucial ingredient in Key lime pie is sweetened condensed milk, which was invented by Gail Borden in 1856. No sweetened condensed milk, no Key lime pie. At least nothing that resembled our current dessert. As for the limes, they probably started growing as soon as the Spanish explorers arrived in the 1500s, bringing yellow-green golf-ball size limes from Malaysia. And they continued to grow until the hurricane of 1926 which wiped them out. Most limes in Florida now are Persian, not Key.

The lime trees that remain are said to be “ferocious” in nature, and I’m not really sure what that means at all. Prentiss and I will try our hand at growing a few around the edge of the driving range, maybe start a little grove down the lane by my turquoise conch cottage.

Floridians are quite passionate about their Key limes, and their Key lime pie.  In 1965, Florida State Representative Bernie Papy, Jr., introduced a bill that would have levied a $100 fine against anyone who advertised a Key lime pie not made with Key limes. Alas, the bill did not pass.  But, in 1994, the legislature did decree Key lime pie as the OFFICIAL Florida state pie.

Florida State Pie:

photo of key lime pie

Prentiss and I will be more than pleased to hear from you. Seriously, if you have a treasured Key lime pie recipe, we’ll be glad to try it out, and we’ll let know how all of us at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range rate it. And you are always welcome to drop by and rate our Key lime pies, too.

A New Year

The weather here for New Year’s Eve in SoFLA was close to perfect, with clear skies and a waxing crescent moon. Sue Ten decided it was a good time to show another movie on the side of The Swing Barn and advertised Casino Royale accordingly.

A lot of us were happy to see that since we wanted to be prepared for the new James Bond flick Quantum of Solace which picks up exactly where the previous Daniel-Craig-as-James-Bond movie left off, but Sue surprised us by showing the Peter Sellers / Woody Allen version of Casino Royale, and that one ends in a wild night of cowboys on horseback, Indians with flaming arrows, Navy seals in scuba gear, and US Marines, not unlike many regular nights at The Swing Barn.

The festivities at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range were a little more restrained, and aimed at the non-drinking crowd. Prentiss, my pie-shop apprentice, did come up with a fabulous new corn-dog pie with an onion-ring crust, and she also served one of the possibilities in our search for “The Best Key Lime Pie Ever”. Sadly, she garnished it with a slice of lime that was definitely not of the key-lime variety, but more on that later.

Out on the driving range, we offered free balls from nine to midnight, and that always brings in a crowd. One new player was a guy with long gray hair and a handlebar moustache, who told me, “I was a caddy 50 years ago, and just now I am starting to play myself.”I told him that it’s a game for optimists, since you can always believe that the next hit will be better. He said, “I was an optimist when I got here tonight, but I think I am a pessimist now.”  I hope he cames back. His accent smacked of New England, and I’m always a sucker for that.

As the evening progressed, I noticed several people from my physical therapist’s office, but I think they were just trolling for business. Also, there were any number of fem-bots in short black dresses and high-high heels, trolling for business of another sort entirely. Granted, there aren’t too many night spots out on the edge of the ‘Glades where we live, and with the economy slumping as it is, we aren’t in a position to turn anyone away.

Your second-cousin Darnell, by the way, did a great job of keeping the kids busy by having them create an “art car” which they covered with spray paint.  I’m fairly sure my ex-husband Pretty Boy Boyd will like the new look of his formerly orange Toyota Celica. He’ll let us know when he gets back from New Orleans, if that is, in fact, where he really is. I hope so. He used to tell me that he had been a river boat gambler in a former life, and died in Louisiana. Perhaps history will repeat itself, not that I wish him ill. Of course not.

Nurse Crotchett brought along a truck load of fireworks, which she set about firing from the driving range, setting them off wherever she found an open slot.  I tell you, it made for a great visual impact: golf balls flying into the air, fireworks lighting up the sky, the movie on the side of the Swing Barn, and the waxing crescent moon overhead.

I worried a little about some of the folks stumbling out of The Swing Barn into harm’s way, but your second-cousin Darnell had the good sense to tether his goat Jonathan on a long line near the edge of the driving range, and for once, Jonathan earned his keep, and we resisted the urge to turn him into goat pie for yet another day.

I headed down to my turquoise conch cottage around 3:00 a.m., which was a nice change from my usual insomniac stroll TO the pie shop at about that time, and fell into a few hours of troubling dreams.

One of the dreams, that I can still see pretty clearly, involved a wild car ride down a mountain road with Nurse Crotchett at my side and distressingly ineffective brakes.  I probably don’t need much help analyzing that one. I also dreamt that I had found an Asian baby, and gotten quite attached to it. The child grew to toddler size and was able to speak quite eloquently in no time, which is when she said, “I think I’m ready to go home now.”

The final dream was that my orange hair color had gone strangely spotty, and was showing peculiar patches of mousy brown and gray. I can’t understand that one at all. Tonight, the girls & I are dressing up to go to the ballet, leaving Darnell; Joe Sparkle, Junior; and The Morning Guy in charge. I’m sure they will do just fine, don’t you agree?

Bookshelves du jour

Once again, it’s too bad that I already bought bookshelves for the pie shop. Still, I’m drawn to these since they look so much like the way I store my own book in the turquoise conch cottage down the lane. Maybe it’s a reaction to all those years that I spent in libraries doing one thing or another, but now I tend to stack books in odd ways, in seemingly random groups. Of course, I do know what’s where, and maybe that comes from working at one time in such a small library that we really didn’t need a card catalog. We could just say, “You’re looking for the blue one, over there.”

I think most small-small-town librarians would spend their time better taking memory classes rather than cataloging classes. I’ve also voiced my feeling that fledgling librarians need better mind-reading skills, rather than training in the hideous “reference interview.”  Or maybe that’s all past us now, with so many people searching for the information they want via Google and other online tools. I hope that trend has helped to free up librarians to answer their own questions.  I know I always had plenty of those, and I still do. Truth be told, I don’t really care what other people want to know. I’d rather have them answer MY questions.

And maybe that’s why I do so much better behind the counter of the pie shop than I ever did behind the reference desk. Ha!

Recently, a friend tried to tell me “Once a librarian, always a librarian,” and I asserted that I am happy to be an ex-librarian. I am free, I tell you, free free free.

Bring on the pie, turn up the jukebox, and add those books to the pile. What are you reading these days, anyway?

Graffititek

by hellokarl

Graffititek is the latest piece by young French designer Charles Kalpakian.  Based on Parisian Graffiti art, the bookcase aims to offer new perspective on the craft by reinterpreting it in a three-dimensional way.

Trading as hellokarl, Kalpakian has built his career working within the areas of interior and product design from his studio in Paris.

When asked about his work, Kalpakian summerises, ‘i like to think of my work as dreams that inspire briefly but allow us to endure on’.

www.hellokarl.com

graffititek by Hello Karl 2008
graffititek by Hello Karl 2008
graffititek by Hello Karl 2008
graffititek by Hello Karl 2008