Holiday Cooking – Lemon Meringue Pie & Christmas Taco

Nick Escher, Host: Today is Friday, December 24th. Christmas Eve! Thank you for coming to WORLD Radio to help you start your day.

good morning. I’m Nick Escher.

Myrna Brown, Host: And I am Myrna Brown.

come next The world and everything in it: The last installment of our series on holiday cooking traditions.

Escher: Well, we’re kind of turning the tradition on its head. We’re not so much for pork or turkey and marinade.

Tonight, it’s Christmas tacos. Our favorite thing.

Winter weather doesn’t keep me from barbecuing. So today is our day to share, Myrna.

Brown: I’m interested in Christmas tacos and I think you’ll love what my family makes for dessert. Lemon. meringue.

But don’t spoil your appetite. Dinner first!

My voice: [turn signal sound + turn and accelerate]

We squeeze an hour’s activities into less than three minutes.

My voice: [Salvation Army bells]

So together we head to the grocery store and gather all our ingredients, everything we need.

Look, we just entered the empty clan stage, so my wife and I needed a new hobby and thought we’d turn dinner into a big production.

So for this recipe:

Some crunch, so: radish. [beep]

Fresh flavour: tomato. [beep]

For sharpness and hot color: green onions. [beep]

Of course some chicken. [beep]

paprika. Reds. [beep] yellows; [beep]

Limes, important for tacos.

The thinner the leather, the better the lime, that’s how I choose them.

[Apple Pay]

Push and go.

[“Thank you very much”]

This is correct. I’m walking around with my headphones, digital recorder, and microphone. Yes, this is not strange at all.

Well, throw things in the car, jump – safety first.

[door shuts, beeps, seat belt]

Let’s roll.

Back on the farm, it’s time to prepare.

There’s going to be a lot of slicing, dicing, sizzling, tossing and flipping and you’ll have to be as frugal as you can, so we’re using these little frozen garlic cubes.

(“This is my imagination”)

Recognize this sound, I think. This is my daughter, Christine Flavin


…she, her husband, and her baby are here tonight – the tacos are a real draw.

You’ll work on the green onions, the green tops we’ll dedicate for Christmas decorating, and the white bottoms put in a black bean puree, along with sour cream and lemon, but first.

(“Oh, cool”) Yes, I love gadgets. Cool small can opener.

I think the secret sauce for this dish is tomato and horseradish sauce.

(“Green of lime?”)

Yes I can. You’ll get the sauce – along with the red and white of the tomatoes and radishes, you’ll get the freshness of a lemon but also a lovely green zest. We’ll do a quick job of it.

But it’s time to light the grill.

While this is heating, we need to soften the pepper.

Just toss around and let them simmer.

I cook the chicken in a heavy cast iron skillet, high heat, real high.

Four minutes each side.

We’ll let that rest, chop it up and mix it with the chile dough.

Now you have all the items: tortillas, mashed beans, chicken, peppers, salsa, cotija cheese, some salt and pepper, and green garnishes—delicious and decorated for Christmas.

(“Thank you in the name of Christ”)

Get in, go!

I took a picture, so visit the site and have a look.

Photo courtesy of Myrna Brown

Myrna Brown: My husband, Stanley, grew up in the ’70s. At the time, post-church Sundays in Tennessee were dedicated to the exchange of laughter and recipes.

Darlene: We hear you now…

Today, members of the Brown clan are scattered throughout the Southeast. But that’s not a good thing about Zoom calling and the promise of a homemade Lemon Meringue pie can’t be beat.

Darlene: …But when I first made it, I always called it lemon pie ice cream.

This is Stanley’s sister, Darlene. She was 8 years old when their mother, Bertha Mae Brown, began teaching her how to make the classic candy.

Darlene: It was in her head. You have not written it.

Now, living Darlene’s family-loving recipe, she still wears her Sunday best and gathers ingredients for her Lemon Meringue Zoom tutorial. Darlene is excited to share the family treasure with her two daughters, DeAndrea and Kristi. They both live in Tennessee, about 30 minutes from their mother. The family’s mothers were also pleasantly surprised that her three grandchildren, Reinhold, KJ and Conley, were within earshot. To wrap up the class, Stanley and I are ready in Alabama, with our daughter Kelsey, listening and watching from her Georgia apartment.


The afternoon kicks off with a chorus of food processors, turning vanilla wafers into pie crusts with just one touch. Darlene reminds us that it wasn’t always that simple.

Darlene: Remember, I was crushing these cookies by hand. (Stanley) I was her food processor. Ah yes! I was her food processor because doing it by hand was like shelling peas. Oh, wow!

After sprinkling a little butter over the cookie crust, we all got lemons, about three of them. But Darlene picks up an antique looking glass dish instead. It has a small handle on the side and an egg-shaped hump in the middle.

Darlene: Everyone, I want you all to see this. Is everyone searching? This juicer was my mother’s juice. oh!! ….

As we slice, squeeze, and filter with our own juicers, the fresh scent of the citrus is deliriously overwhelming—perhaps too much for Kristi.

Kristi to Darlene: Can we buy lemonade instead of doing all this? Well, I guess if you were to make it yourself. But if you followed my mother’s recipe, you wouldn’t buy lemonade. It’s just many steps!

Our juice yields about ½ cup of fresh lemon juice for the pie filling. But before Kristi can rest her weary, sour arms, it’s time to start cracking eggs…and jokes.

Christy: The recipe keeps getting more and more work for us to do. We squeeze the lemon by hand, now we have to separate some eggs.

Stanley: You should go out into the backyard and get you some fresh eggs from the hen house… (giggle)

When egg whites are whisked with a little sugar, it produces a fluffy, creamy, and sweet meringue. Then we take an egg yoke and mix it with lemon juice and condensed milk.

Darlene: My mom used to say that milk costs a lot of money…we’ll have a spoon and get as much out of it as we can.

The melodic sounds of spoons scraping milk cartons send Kristi over the edge.

Christy: Well, can I say something as a younger mom? So we used a fork, now we have to use the spoon to get the condensed milk. All I see is the plates, on the plates, on the plates. do you feel Me? Look at the ladies, everyone shakes their heads yes and laughs.

Even with our comical moments of comfort, disguised as desperation, we all get our pies in our 350-degree ovens. And while we wait for the meringues to turn brown, we get a sweeter dessert, a few final words from Bertha May’s granddaughters.

Deandrea: Reynolds says meringue is like clouds

Kelsey: In the last year, I reached out to my dad just like he wanted to know more about his childhood and experiences growing up and then learn more about my grandmother that I had never met. I don’t really like lemon meringue, but I would love to know how to make it for my dad in case he asks me for it.

Audio: Good job, good job! Kelsey brought you here again? Well .. oh yes .. I see, I see brown … beautiful, gentle …

Radio WORLD scripts are generated on a quick deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The official record of Radio WORLD’s programming is the audio record.


Leave a Comment