Florida Sweets is dedicated to our mother and written in memory of our father. My brother Patrick shares some of his wit and wisdom about eating Florida Sweets, as a PS from Pat, at the end of each chapter. He also wrote most of the dedication about our father and his life growing up during the depression in North Florida.
As we hit the road talking about the book, people had questions. Here are some of the answers for those of you would couldn’t make it to the presentation.
Questions about Florida Sweets:
Q- 1: Are those Pat’s hands on the cover of the book?
A- 1: No one has the chance to ask that question, Pat tells everyone before the presentation begins those are his hands, and he is happy to autograph the cover of any books .
Q- 2: What’s your favorite dessert in the book?
A-2: Pat’s favorite is his wife Carolyn’s Citrus Pie. My favorite, Flamingo Pink Lime Pie, a recipe from Easy Breezy Florida Cooking (University Press of Florida). I included it in Florida Sweets since it is so easy to make and it’s our family favorite.
Q-3: Is Florida Sweets a cookbook.
A-3: Florida Sweets is more than Key Lime Pie, Kumquat Cake and Citrus Candy. It ‘s not a cookbook but more of a travel guide to sweet places in Florida and there are a few recipes in the book:
Flamingo Pink Lime Pie and Carolyn’s Tasty Florida Citrus Pie are included along with my other sister-in-law’s recipe for Laurelyn’s Peanut Butter Balls. The postcards in the book for Key Lime Pie and Florida Orange Meringue Pie shows ingredients but only the key lime pie gives directions. Granny’s Fig Preserves is a special reminder of my paternal grandmother’s love, which she showed with her biscuits and figs when we came to visit. Jelly Pie, an old recipe without complete directions but I tried it and liked it with guava jelly. The Flan recipe is from a Tampa friend’s mother, who learned how to make it watching her Spanish mother-in-law prepare it for special occasions. And a simple biscuit style Strawberry Shortcake recipe is included.
Q-4: Why don’t you have a recipe for Kumquat Cake in the book?
A-4: There is a restaurant in Dade City that serves kumquat cake during the winter growing season, but they did not want to share their recipe. So, I included information that takes you to the Kumquat Growers, Inc. website where you will find several recipes for that special cake.
Q-5: What is citrus candy?
A-5: Citrus candy is a citrus infused chewy candy, kind of like gum drops only better. Found at several seasonal shops in Central Florida.
Q-6: Is Florida Sweets similar to your other book A Culinary History of Florida?
A-6: Florida Sweets is more about the choices we have today for something sweet to eat. From the Ice Age to the Space Age… A Culinary History of Florida explains how food has evolved in the state.
Long before orange groves filled the Florida Ridge in the central part of the state, the coastline of Florida was at times at least 50 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico and the sweet edibles found by early man included berries, sea grapes, coco plums, persimmons and prickly pears (the pink fruit of cactus). And that was about all they had that was sweet to eat. These historic sweets can still be found growing wild today in Florida. And many can be found at the market. For early settlers, citrus along with sugar cane and sweet potatoes, were natural desserts. Cane grinding, taffy pulls and ice cream socials were commonly a part of community celebrations, so sweets were not an everyday treat. Florida Sweets picks up where A Culinary History of Florida left off.