Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Florida - March 3, 1845

Every time I hear the song "Land Down Under" by Men at Work I think of Florida. My first trip to Florida was in January of 1983 to visit a childhood friend who moved there after graduation, and I had so much fun that I went back in May of that year. I remember that "Land Down Under" played over and over again on the radio. My friend and I had birthdays one day apart, her roommate also had a May birthday and so to celebrate (we were all turning 19) we drove down to Key West, lounged around, got sunburned, and I had my first margarita. I have been to Florida several times since then. My mother and step-father lived there for a few years (and still winter there; they are there now, in fact), and our friend McKell who lives in St. Petersburg is a native Floridian (although we met her during her brief stint as an Arizonan). We have been down for visits, and there is much to love about the state. We have seen alligators, and baby sand hill cranes there, collected beautiful shells, enjoyed beaches, and bars. This is the time of year that Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and other resort areas are innundated with college students. I can't imagine what it is like for the locals right now. I do remember watching the movie Spring Break many years ago, which probably isn't too far off the mark. Sometimes when I go down there I think people move there because it seems like a big playground. But I imagine once you have to get a job, and go to parent-teacher conferences, and drive to little league, it stops being so much fun. I think I will save Florida for a vacation spot. There are enough people who live there, and too much development.

The Sunshine State seemed like a good choice for a movie because I usually like independent films, but I didn't really get this one. It did have some big name actors and actresses (Mary Steenburgen, Timothy Hutton, Angela Basset). However, I am not sure where writer/director, John Sayles, meant to be going with this. The David-and-Goliath theme of long-time residents fighting the big-time developers was resolved without judgement. There were so many characters that the movie only scratched the surface of their lives, so that when we thought something was supposed to be a profound statement, we couldn't really figure out why. We did learn a bit about Florida history from this, specifically as it related to slavery, and segregation.

I selected the book Behind the Mask: A True Story of Obsession and Savage Genius by Stella Sands for my Florida project - a true crime story about a librarian! I have only read about 60 pages though, for the reasons outlined in my Puerto Rico post. I will write a supplemental post later this month.

My favorite kind of pie is key lime, so today was a perfect chance for me to try to make it myself. I went all out and used Paula Deen's Key Lime Pie. I followed the directions exactly and made soft peaks and hard peaks when instructed. James was duly impressed with the perfect texture of the pie, and mentioned it without even being prompted to! It actually was not a hard recipe - the biggest challenge was finding the proper equipment: a springform pan. I knew I had one. I even remember the occasion I bought it for - James' 36th birthday when I made him a lemon cheesecake. I found the outer ring part with the other cake pans, but where was the bottom? I looked in the drawer underneath the oven where the cookie tins are kept, and it wasn't there. I then dawned on me where I might have ended up. Did I really want to look? There are some places you just don't want to have to go, and underneath the oven is one of them, yuck. But there it was, lying flat on the floor among the grime and dust. All I had to do was pull the drawer all the way out. It reminded me of the time we bought a new refrigerator. In that case we actually found a bunch of crap that belonged to the previous owner.

Although this recipe is loaded with fat, it does have a wicked-high fiber graham cracker crust!

Other Florida Posts
Florida Book March 8, 2010
Florida Public Libraries March 18, 2010

1 comment:

  1. The key lime pie was indeed perfect -- frozen but not too hard -- and big!

    The movie description is right on; it was nice hanging out with these characters for a couple of hours (it is a longish movie), but then they were like friends who just walked away without explaining what they had come by for. Had Sayles spent another day thinking about what he wanted to do, it could have been a very good movie.

    One of my few guilty reading pleasures, by the way, is Carl Hiasen ( All of his books are about Florida, and each is more ludicrous than the last, but not as ludicrous as daily life in Miami.

    Miami International Airport is, by the way, the de facto capital of Latin America, and most of my visits to Florida have been through that airport on the way to some place further south.

    My other Florida journeys are at .

    It was a pleasure celebrating Florida with you, Pam! Take me to Key West next time :-)