In a personal essay for the Southern Foodways Alliance, journalist and writer Rosalind Bentley remembers how the women in her family made pies and cobblers out of Florida-grown sand-pears. Bentley beautifully describes harvesting, baking, and delighting in sand-pear pies as a tradition among them that marked the milestones of womanhood and knitted the family together through hardship.

Yet there were moments of light—and they often happened in our tiny kitchen. There’s the memory of Mama zesting lemons against the old aluminum grater for a lemon meringue pie, her lips pursed, humming as she worked. By the time the egg whites were whipped into peaks and spread atop the pie, she’d be three verses into her third hymn. There was old-style banana pudding, bread pudding studded with raisins, and I think once, when I was in Girl Scouts, there was an attempt at caramel apples. On rare occasions, there’d be…

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