What makes a long-anticipated vacation trip the best it can be?
The answer? I started thinking about it as I prepared for my trip to the east coast — the real coast, as in “ocean.” I think it’s the journey itself that really made the trip memorable although the destination was certainly remarkable.
Leaving Ohio and traveling through mountains, valleys and towns, stopping at odd places along the way, talking and laughing and just generally enjoying each other made for a wonderful trip and a fun time for Heather and me.
I’ve thought about the sight and sound of the ocean and the scent of the air near the sea and salt marshes. The anticipation of the food, the quirky seaside shops and just being in the presence of the ocean came to mind. So did walking the beach down near the ocean, picking up shells and shards; ducking away from sea gull attacks when Heather rattled her shell bag and they thought she had food; and watching the clouds come and go out at sea.
Right along with the obvious things I thought of, it occurred to me that the people who contributed to what Heather and I experienced on the trip really added to our enjoyment. This will have to be one of my two-part columns. I want to share tales of some of the people we met along the way. I’ll take up the whole food page if I try to do it now, so I’ll continue with that next week.
I’ll leave you this week with a recipe I’ll bet you’ve never tried or probably even heard of. It’s an old country recipe, known and loved especially around the coast of North Carolina.
ATLANTIC BEACH PIE
For the crust
1 1/2 sleeves Saltine crackers
1/3 to 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
For the filling
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice, or a combination of the two
Fresh whipped cream and coarse sea salt for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crush crackers finely (but not to dust) using a food processor or your hands. Add the sugar and 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 until the crust colors a little.
While the crust is cooling (it doesn’t need to be cold), in a large mixing bowl, 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 is set.
The pie needs to be completely cold to be sliced. Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkling of sea salt.
Serves six to eight.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at email@example.com.
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