Key Lime Pie - Two Forks Please!

Every good couple has a “thing”…right?

Our beach quests are always the same- we seek the ocean sunrise, sand, relaxation, surf, shells, stone crab, the ocean sunset - and always - the perfect slice of Key Lime Pie.  Chuck and I have been on a key lime pie quest since the dawn of our married life.  Oh -  it was all tropical paradise and promises in 1986 on our honeymoon in the Bahamas over the best piece of key lime pie we’ve EVER shared - until we got to the last bite.  Chivalry and self-sacrifice out the window, a two-forks battle ensued.  I WON!  And I still have the battle scar to prove it.  If you click on the picture top left and zoom way in you can see it.  It’s huge!  ;-D   We’ve been on a shared quest for the best battle-worthy piece of key lime pie ever since.  It's our “thing”.  But now that we can afford two pieces of pie, we can't afford the calories.  No matter - wouldn't be as much fun anyway. Two forks please!

So - here we are below midway through our 30th anniversary and seventh trip to Marco Island in south Florida. This charming little strip of white sandy beach on the Gulf shore south of Naples started out as a special place for our large extended family to gather in peace that first Thanksgiving in the aftermath of the horror that was 9-11-2001.  Chuck and I fell in love with it, though, and have returned regularly to this peaceful retreat.   Over the past 15 years we have come alone, with friends and now with our own little expanding family that includes not only our two grown children but their wonderful significant others in a unique little tribe we call Team Rosé. The only thing better than having a "thing" is sharing it with those you hold most dear. We've successfully managed to suck Team Rosé into our perfect slice of beach and, by extension, our perfect-slice-of-pie quest.

Oh yes - the perfect slice of key lime pie does exist - but not where you may be thinking…

How hard can it be to find a good key lime pie in south Florida?  The four basic ingredients are simple:  Fresh key lime juice (a Florida no-brainer), sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and a good graham-cracker crumb-based crust.  It shouldn't be rocket science - except apparently it is.  Truthfully, our prior Marco pie quests were barely quests at all. We happened across the street one day years ago to fresh seafood and key lime pie perfection at Captain Brian's Restaurant and Improv bar. We looked forward to it every time we ventured to Marco. Sadly, we arrived this time to find Captain Brian’s no longer in business.

Sooooo - bring on the key lime pie quest!

Here's the blow-by-blow.  Our favorite stone-crab restaurant- frozen key lime pie - ummm - pass.  Local favorite from a fish market - seriously? - where was the lime?  A random local restaurant reviewed on Trip Advisor - key lime pudding with airy, spray can whipped cream and soggy crust.  A local high-end restaurant - key lime meringue torte - better than pie they said - huh?   A high-end resort on the beach - key-lime-is-it-cake-or-pie?  My personal “favorite” from a seafood restaurant on the dock - whipped key lime jet fluff as one member of Team Rosé hilariously dubbed it. 

In all, we rode the sugar wave and walked off five different versions of the pie and, in the end, we all agreed - the perfect key lime pie must get these three elements right: texture, tartness and crust.  We don’t want key lime cheesecake pie or key lime torte pie or key lime jet puff fluff pie - and hold the meringue please.  Not saying these interpretations are bad - but - if we're going to invest the calories, we want key lime PIE pie - a glossy, silky-dense, lime-zesty custard filling with with the sweet-tangy flavor balance tilted in favor of the tartness of the key lime (that you can feel tingling on the sides of your tongue before you've even taken the first bite) all nestled in a sturdy but not too thick buttery crisp graham cracker crumb crust and topped with a generous mound of real, thick whipped cream for just the right lightly sweet creamy balance.  Yep - THAT pie.

We held out hope for one more restaurant that was highly reviewed, The Marco Brewery, but couldn’t get there before we had to head home.  I guess that means one trip more - one pie quest more.  <Sigh> - I feel so blessed but our little team is growing and changing and establishing their own metaphorical “two fork pie quests” - as it should be.  If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll start getting sucked into their “things” and won’t that be fun!


You will find us occasionally enjoying the perfect slice of key lime pie right here (no kidding - we should know - It’s our “thing”) at The Pie Junkie in Oklahoma City.  Two forks please!

Here's to you and your "things" my fun maker-people - for all the Love and People you put In Knit!

(If you're wondering what Key Lime Pie is doing in my knitting blog - vacation and a change of name and branding for my knitting blog and knitwear design business have kept me busy and away from my regular knitting blogging - but I am happy to be back in town, back in business and back “In Knit” with all of you!)


I've always wanted to knit a bikini

My husband and I will be marking our 30th wedding anniversary in early November and we've decided to take all of Team Rosé on a beach vacation in celebration of this special milestone.  Our adventure started on a beach thirty years ago so it seems fitting to launch the rest of our journey at our favorite beach location.  We've rented a condo on Marco Island, FL and are looking forward to play-time with our scattered team.  This fun time is fast approaching, though, and that means one thing -  I have a little over a month to get myself beach ready.  Two items are top priority: Weight Lifting and Knitting a Bikini!  Just kidding...about the weight lifting.  ;-D

Thirty years, two kids, a ton of fun, a lot of life and a few more pounds have happened since this honeymoon picture was taken.  I'd say we've weathered pretty well but we certainly don't look like this in our swimsuits anymore.  So - the ultimate swimsuit search is on - big time - and a knitted bikini is definitely O.U.T.

Of course, when you start an internet search for classy, stylish, yet modest swimwear all sorts of interesting e-trails emerge - from burkini controversies to heated opinions on age-appropriate swimsuit styles.  According to one InStyle Magazine article, Tankinis are the equivalent of "Mom Jeans" for middle-aged women - what?!?  Give a long-waisted, middle-aged woman a break!  My google meanderings quickly led to some fascinating information on knitting, social change and the history of women's swimwear.  I'm hooked!

Did you know that many of the leading swimwear manufacturers - Jantzen, Catalina, Cole and Speedo - track their humble, but very successful, beginnings back to the early 1900's as Woolen Knitting Mills?  As someone who has always wanted to knit a bikini, I feel I should have known this but I didn't.  Before the advent of modern materials such as Lycra and Spandex, women's swimsuits were actually knitted out of fine-gauge wool complete with socks, skirts and caps to make acceptably modest beach apparel.  (Doesn't the joy in this delightful picture just make you happy?).  Technically, I could still find a pattern and knit one of these vintage beauties for my beach appearance in November!

As this article on the history of swimsuit companies points out; these swimsuits must have been a far cry from anything we would consider practical today knowing how knitted wool sags, stretches and smells when it gets wet.  Ewwwww.  But they surely were a vast improvement over the full-length, button-down flannel dresses, stockings and shoes women were "allowed" to wear to the beach in earlier decades. I do find it humorous that policemen used to patrol beaches back in the 20's and even into the 30's measuring bathing suits to make sure women didn't have too much skin showing. There are some interesting  stories of early female swimmer-athletes who would get arrested for wearing form-fitting knitted wool suits that were deemed too risqué but that allowed them more freedom of movement in the water than dresses. Read about Annette Kellerman here.  (Does anyone else find it a little bit ironic that countries today are sending out "burkini police" to make sure some women don't have too little skin showing?)

Fast forwarding through the decades - women grow bolder, more competitive and start showing their independence while swimsuits grow smaller, more form-fitting and start - well - showing more woman. Many of the later vintage swimsuits, while still knitted, can really set your classy-swimsuit-radar buzzing.  Why shouldn't these fabulous vintage knitted suits from the 1940's, 50's and 60's make a comeback on Marco Island?  YUMMY!

But seriously, the study of clothing through the decades is fascinating; especially vintage swimwear and the story it tells about style changes as a reflection of the way women have changed throughout history.  How many of us have ever stopped to think about what the sporty, thongy, tanky, skirty, sarongy, or strappy suit under our swim coverup tells us about our evolution as women?  I know I haven't until now.  It is actually part of an incredible historical journey - and the journey continues - and not just for westernized women.  I absolutely love the way Kimann Schultz in this Huffington Post article writes about the recent European Burkini controversy; "Westernized women didn't go from hoop skirts to hot pants in a day, so how about we give this (Burkini) issue some space?  What if - what if - those Burkinis were a baby step in the right - as in correct - direction?  Who is anyone to naysay a small style step for women that in the bigger picture might turn out to be an onset inch towards a giant leap for womankind?"  

What if?

As for me - I WILL be hitting the gym starting today- but I've also decided I'm going to channel my inner Betty Grable on the beach this November.

These hips and thighs are headed back to the gorgeous, curvy-woman swim fashion of the 1940's thank you very much!  My online searching yielded several manufacturers that specialize in vintage-style swimwear.  (As much as I do love vintage knitwear, though, I'll not be sporting the saggy, wooly, knitted kind).  Ahhhh - the miracle of modern high-tech fabrics combined with the vintage sizzle-appeal of high-waisted, contoured bottoms and moulded, long-line tops.  The thought of this makes me a little giddy.  I'm looking forward to finding the perfect one.  I'm not sure what this says about the on-going woman swim-fashion journey apart from this: it's all good these days!  One woman's tankini is another woman's burkini.  Bikini / Burkini - whatever!  We can sport whatever swimsuit style we want on whatever body we have for whatever the reason may be.  The hope is that all women can keep moving in the direction of making swimsuit choices for nobody but themselves and for no other reason than it makes them happy.  I still want to knit a bikini.  It would make me happy - to knit it - not to wear it!

Wise Knitting my friends