World's Best Key Lime Pie
Manijeh BadiozamaniWe are new to the area, but have managed to find a short cut that takes us to a big shopping center. It appears everyone else knows about this shortcut as well. Going through the residential areas while following this shortcut, once in a while, I notice signs posted along the side of the road which announces: world’s best key lime pie, sold on Friday, at 11 a.m. I’ve seen such signs four times only since we moved to the area a year ago. I am curious about the pie, but never manage to be on that road on a Friday at 11 a.m.
Today, I am on that road! And here is the story of the world’s best key lime pie.
It is 10:15 and I’m driving home from my exercise class – I’m determined to lose two more pounds! It dawns on me that it is Friday, and that I had seen the pie sign yesterday. Voila! I head for the shortcut. It is 10:25 by now.
As I reach the vast empty field, I see four cars already lined up on one side. I roll the window down and ask an older gentleman: “Is this the line for the Key Lime Pie?”
He looks at me with no expression on his face.
“Yes, it is,” he says nonchalantly.
“Is the pie really good?” I ask with a smile.
“Yes it is,” he replies calmly.
“Then I must get to the back of the line?” I question, feeling rather stupid.
“If you want to buy the pie,” he says looking at me as if I’m a moron. I drive to the back of the line – now there are six cars ahead of me.
I call my husband. “Can you guess where I am?” I ask jubilantly.
“I don’t have the foggiest notion,” he says, with a tinge of curiosity in his voice.
“I’m in line to buy that famous key lime pie.”
“Wow, I thought we were trying to lose weight,” he protests
“Yes, but we have to taste this pie at least once, and it is close to 11 a.m.” I look at my watch, it is 10:43. We hang up.
Next I call my sister: “Can you guess where I am right now?”
She smiles at the other end and says she doesn’t have a clue.
“I’m in line to buy a key lime pie. Would you like me to buy you one?”
“Good heavens no!” she says laughing out loud. “We don’t eat dessert. Besides, you are buying one and we will come over to taste it.”
The cars are arriving one after another, lining up on the grass-covered empty field, or parking on the side of the road. It is getting close to 11:00 and I notice folks are getting out of their cars and lining up somewhere in the middle of the field. I do the same, and walk fast to get in line. There are twenty people standing in line ahead of me waiting for the truck to arrive! By now I am counting about sixty-five cars.
Then, a short, slender, middle-aged man walks into the field, directing traffic and telling those folks who have parked in the path of the truck to move their cars. This is done in an orderly manner. Then a young man shows up. They both put on a white apron, and a chef’s hat. The names on the apron read Rob and Tim, the older and the younger one respectively.
It is beastly hot, probably close to 90 degrees with high humidity. But everyone is patiently waiting. People are holding their money – a twenty-dollar bill – that is how much each pie costs. It better be good for that price, I tell myself!
The line curves and now there are roughly seventy folks behind me. Necks are all stretched to see if the truck is arriving. I walk over to Rob and start asking questions about this whole operation.
“Anthony is the baker,” Rob says. “He has been making these key lime pies for the past 25 years – and selling them here in this field for the past seven years.” Rob tells me all about these wonderful pies. “Anthony uses only four ingredients: eggs, milk, sugar, key lime juice in a special graham cracker crust.” Rob appears to be the marketing man for Anthony’s business. I also learn that Anthony delivers pies to customers’ homes, at no additional delivery charge.
It is sweltering hot, and I’m perspiring profusely. The white truck arrives. Big sign in front says “Family Owned and God Blessed.” The truck parks where is it supposed to, and I get to see Anthony, who broadly smiles as he gets out of the truck, opens the back of the truck and pulls down a ramp. I see four chest freezers in there. The pies are all frozen. Anthony brings out a cooler and tells folks to help themselves with cold bottled-water. Then a radio is put on a small folding table and music floats in the air.
Anthony greets the customers, assures everyone that his kitchen is certified and that he is licensed to do business. Tim and Rob, take trays of samples around. I get my first little taste of the world’s best key lime pie. Delicious!
The line is moving, and I find myself in front of Anthony to be handed a pie. When he puts a frozen pie in a bag for me, I coyly say, “Two please!”
Anthony assures me it keeps in the freezer for a month, but deep in my heart I know it will be consumed way before the month ends.
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