Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday again: the first Monday of Autumn in the Northern hemisphere and of Spring in the Southern. It’s National Key Lime Pie Day, a truly worthy American foodstuff named after the Florida Keys. But beware: most of the stuff you get in restaurants is made not with Key Limes—a very small lime 1-2 inches across, with a strong and tart flavor. The vast majority of “Key Lime” pies are made either with the larger and more familiar Persian limes, or with bottled juice duplicitously named “Key West” lime juice. A few years back, Key limes weren’t much grown commercially in the U.S., and I got my pie only at one place: Manny and Isa’s Restaurant in Islamorada, Florida, in the Keys, where the limes were grown behind the wonderful Cuban restaurant. Now the place is closed, but nowadays you can often find mesh bags of Key limes at your local grocery or produce store.  I urge you to try the stuff, but only if it’s real; otherwise make it yourself, as it’s not hard. Here’s a recipe, and you’ll need to make or buy a graham-cracker crust.  Seriously, you must try this pie before you die. As PuffHo would say, it’s a “genius pie””


On this day in 1960, Nixon and Kennedy engaged in the first televised Presidential debate in U.S. history. I was watching. And tonight we’ll see the same with Clinton vs. Trump. I’m not sure I’m going to watch this time, as I already know who I’m going to vote for and both candidates will irritate me. It’s possible that the debate could, as did the Nixon/Kennedy debate, have a decisive effect on the election.

Notables born on this day include T. S. Eliot (1888), George Gershwin (exactly 10 years later), Jack LaLanne (1914), and Olivia Newton-John (1948). Those who died on this day include Daniel Boone (1820), Levi Strauss (1902; in his honor I’m wearing his invention today), Bessie Smith (1937), and the ineffably handsome Paul Newman (2008). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is wondering what time it is, and you know what she means by “time”!

Hili: Sometimes it’s nice to sit on the verandah and muse.
A: What are you musing about?
Hili: I’m wondering what time it is.

In Polish:
Hili: Czasem miło jest posiedzieć na werandzie i porozmyślać.
Ja: A o czym rozmyślasz?
Hili: Zastanawiam się, która jest godzina.


  1. Lee Beringsmith
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Levi Strauss died in 1820?
    Would have been very difficult to invent levi’s for the 1849 California Gold Rush miners if he was a corpse.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Hili cares about what time it is about as much as the retired do. Not much.

    I’m the same on the debates. Back when Kennedy and Nixon were on black and white, the league of women voters was in control of these debates. It did not take long before it was all dumb down for entertainment and rating and the definition of real debate was lost. I say bring back the league and attempt to have an actual debate.

  3. E.A. Blair
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    the 1960 election was the occasion that let me demonstrate, at the ripe old age of 3½ i started reading aloud from the newspaper my father brought home that Kennedy had won the Democratic nomination. My favorite aunt taught me letters by holding me on her lap while doing the newspaper crossword puzzle, then testing me by pointing at the headlines. Until I read the headline, my parents had been totally unaware that I had learned to read. The date was 13 July 1960. I do not, however, recall watching the debates.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted September 26, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Typos: “The 1960 election was the occasion that let me demonstrate, at the ripe old age of 3½, that I could read. I started reading aloud from the newspaper my father brought home that Kennedy had won the Democratic nomination.”

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 26, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Shoot. I was going to ask if you were demonstrating for or against, never mind. I was 10 at the time but remember watching. Not that many years later they changed the voting age to 18, I think 1967, so I voted at 18. Not that I knew what I was doing.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 26, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          The 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age nationally, was ratified in 1971 (the year I turned 18). Some states had already lowered their voting age before that.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted September 26, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            You’re right. I must have voted in 72, not 68. I guess because it was Nixon both times I mixed it up. So I was 22 in 72. Still did not know what I was doing. It was all about Vietnam. If you can go to war and get killed you must vote. But not drink. So confusing.

            • E.A. Blair
              Posted September 26, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

              In Wisconsin, for twelve years, the drinking age was also lowered to 18 in 1973, shortly after the 26th amendment was ratified. I turned 18 in 1975. A total of 18 states lowered the drinking age to 18 and 6 others changed it to 19. This caused some serious problems, the two most prominent were making some high school students legal drinkers (which made it easier for younger students to the booze from their friends) and problems with 18- to 20-year-olds crossing state lines from neighboring states where it was still 21 (southern Wisconsin had a particular problem with Illinoisans) and driving back while tanked. These two were the most significant factors in raising the age back to 21 nationwide. In Wisconsin, this happened in 1985 (by which time I was well over 21 and not living there anymore)

              However, underage drinking is still allowed in Wisconsin if the minor is either served at home or in the company of a parent, legal guardian or spouse who is over 21. Underage consumption is also allowed for religious or medical purposes.

              As far as I know, most states allow members of the armed forces between 18 and 20 to be served if they are in uniform,

              • Randall Schenck
                Posted September 26, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

                You are correct about the armed forces but from my experience it was – you could drink on base. Off base no, at least not in Texas which was a 21 state. But on base at 18, let it rip. I am referring to 1968, and I don’t know for sure how it all is now. That thing about – you are old enough to go to war but not drink was just a little flawed. I also know that due to trouble with the Marines, off-base in Okinawa they raised the drinking age for Marines there to 20. I believe it was specific to rank. And if you are in the barracks or housing on base, you can only have so much beer in the refrigerator. This is current in Okinawa now, far as I know and started in the 90s. This does not apply to other branches of the military, this is local policy by the Marines Commander in Country. They can set the rules however they want.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted September 26, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

              Yeah, I cast my first ballot in ’72, too. For George McGovern. There weren’t many of us McGovern voters, but those of us who did still feel good about it today — and, especially, about having voted against Dick Nixon.

  4. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    More food porn Jerry…you’re killing me.

    I have never been led astray by the foodie stuff here so I’m mightily tempted to make that pie. Unfortunately I can’t imagine Key limes being that easy to find over here.

    On a side note, they really should get around to making 3D food printers. That’s the future surely.

  5. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I also think Paul Newman is maybe the most classically handsome film star of all time. With a nod to Brando.

  6. darrelle
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    A properly made Key lime pie is indeed a wonderful thing.

    Another worthy use for key limes, the perfect Margarita. One part fresh squeezed Key lime juice, one part agave nectar (I prefer amber) and two parts of fine 100% blue agave añejo tequila.

    Stay away from that Patron Silver crap. If it doesn’t have any color to it, it ain’t worth drinking. If you wouldn’t drink it neat, with pleasure, don’t bother using it for this drink.

    Place the three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, then poor contents, including the ice, into an appropriate glass. Not plastic, glass. And please, no sugar on the rim of the glass. Salt yes, bare is okay too.

    Best margarita ever.

    • bluemaas
      Posted September 26, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Oooo, my heartfelt thank – you for this formula ! WILL most certainly use & already have the glass, and not plastic, set of ware into which to pour thus !

      Extra mighty fine post, Dr Coyne, … … this morning’s. I looked up (again) just to make sure of all of its definitions the word ‘ineffably’ cuz, yeah, that man ? Mr Paul Newman was, at my impressionable age of 12 years, my third inamorato ever ! On a black and white television just newly placed in to our farmhouse came this film, y1958’s the Long, Hot Summer of; and, voilà, did I ever fall. My, my, my … … that ineffably handsome man among men was my very, very favored till that other 26 September day, then, when he no longer breathed.


      • darrelle
        Posted September 26, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink


  7. colnago80
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    In the deceased department, it appears that golfer Arnold Palmer died this morning.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The Fla Keys are my stomping grounds; have been for 40 years. I’m in Key West right now.

    Key limes are yellow. Also, the traditional toping for key lime pie is meringue, made with the egg whites left over from the yolks used in the pie — although whipped cream is more often found atop the pies nowadays.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 26, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink


  9. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 26, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I’m tempted to try making the pie, but I don’t know what Graham crackers are. Can anyone tell me what they taste like in comparison with a New Zealand biscuit (i.e. cookie)?

    • Posted September 26, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      I think you could safely use digestive biscuits (like McVitties). My issue with Key Limes is the zesting part – they are little guys, and scraped knuckles can result, but yes, delicious.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 26, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink


        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted September 26, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Graham crackers are traditional (check out the bio of Sylvester Graham, who developed the recipe However, I’m going to make one using ginger snaps for the crust. Haven’t tried it yet, but I have an idea they’ll play especially well against the lime. And may sprinkle a few small pieces of candied ginger over the top for another contrast

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted September 26, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            Ah, I didn’t read further before posting above and now see that others have beaten me to the punch re using ginger. At least I’m not alone in this suggestion.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted September 26, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            Ooo – that sounds good too!

    • darrelle
      Posted September 26, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Graham cracker crust is traditional, but I don’t really care for graham crackers myself. You can use virtually any kind of biscuit / cookie that “crunchy” rather than soft to make that sort of pie crust. I am a chocolate fiend so I like to use chocolate biscuits. What isn’t better with chocolate?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 26, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        I make a lemon cheesecake and use ginger biscuits (what we call “gingernuts”) for the crust. Much nicer than the usual imo. Chocolate biscuits would be better for some flavours of cheesecake too.

        • darrelle
          Posted September 26, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          That sounds good! Lemon & ginger are a great combination. I’ve never come across lemon cheesecake but that sounds like a good idea. Cheesecake is typically pretty heavy and rich, and lemon is a great way to offset / compliment that.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted September 26, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            That’s what I like about it, though it does make it rather too easy to eat! 🙂

  10. Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I used to know someone online (and from MacHack) who used to say that he’d almost go to Florida just to have proper key lime pie.

    Having never had it, is there a substantial difference in taste?

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