.... said Sheila Farbman at dinner last Friday to her and husband Len Farbman's two dinner guests, me and my older son Brian, in from college.
"You know, one of these days I ought to go into business and sell this, it's just that good!"
Now, I'm no expert on key lime pie, but from everything I've always heard it's not supposed to be growing green tufts of hair from its crust. But Sheila's eyes were twinkling, and Len was beaming as if the primary reason he ever married Sheila was to secure steady access to unlimited slices of the treasured pie.
So, what the hell, I dug right in.
Not since the time in the second grade when I accidentally ate Play-Doh did I recall such texture and taste! As my tongue began writing out its last Will and Testament, I silently cursed the day I'd ever met Farbman, the day he ever met Sheila, and the day that key limes, whatever on earth they are, ever met up with either or the both of them!
"It's absolutely delicious!" I gushed. "I've never eaten anything like it before!"
This was true --- except perhaps for the special Boston Cream Pie Kami Jones once served me, the one that's actually made, I believe, with REAL cardboard!
"Thank you, I'm so proud of it," Sheila said triumphantly. "You know, one of these days I'm going to give up my day job and go into business marketing this. I'd make a fortune!"
Yeah, you could market this, I thought. To Satan perhaps, as an apt punishment for unrepentant Nazis.
"As soon as you finish that," said Sheila sweetly, "I'll cut you another great big piece!"
Now my life began to flash before my eyes. And since the Play-Doh incident was one of its highlights, believe me, I wasn't that thrilled to view it all again. But I saw the delighted looks on their faces, so ....
"I thought you've never ask. With key lime pie this good, I'll worry about dieting tomorrow, heh, heh!"
And just as I was being knocked senseless by the entire tuba section of the Cynwyd Elementary School Marching Band, out came Sheila with a piece of pie the size of Geoff Treegoop, the biggest and meanest fifth grade tuba player and lunch-stealer ever to be graduated from Cynwyd School!
It's really no secret why almost everyone thinks they have at least one special recipe in their repertoire that one of these days they're going to make a fortune with. It's our fault, yours and mine! No matter how foul-tasting, stomach-wrenching, godawful-bad most of the special dishes are, we don't want to hurt our friends' feelings. So we breath through our mouths while we lie through our teeth, and in so doing create culinary Frankenstein monsters.
I used to wonder if absolutely everyone plays this foolish game. My son Brian, for example, is a strictly no-nonsense person whose favorite hobby is telling small children there is no Santa Claus. I carefully watched his response as he rolled the hirsute piece of pie into his mouth.
"It's wonderful, Mrs. Farbman!" he effused. "Could you give us the recipe?"
"Oh, no, Brian!" Sheila laughed. "How do I know you won't take it and open your own key lime pie business first?"
"Did you really like the key lime pie?" I whispered to Brian while both Farbmans were in the kitchen, probably drawing up their business plan.
"I wouldn't feed that swill to a garbage disposal!" he shot back.
And what of the people who actually do go into business one of these days selling their special recipe? For every Famous Amos Cookies, there must be hundreds of failed Willard's, King of Stuffed Squid or Mrs. Kretchmer's Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato Cakes and Pies. Bankruptcy attorneys obviously have a vested interest in making certain no one ever gives a truthful opinion of a special recipe.
Frankly, I wish anyone with a special recipe which one of these days they're planning to make a fortune on would just wise up. When you serve us your award-winning dish, tell us it's store-bought. Then maybe --- just maybe --- you might get some honest opinions.
Of course, there is one exception to all the above. Just wait 'til you taste my special Dutch Apple Cobbler!
One of these days, I'm going to chuck this stupid blog and make a fortune!