To avoid the bleakness of winter, many of my friends and acquaintances fly south. (Most to Florida). These local “snow birds” enjoy the best of all seasons: warm winters and mild summers.
Admittedly, I am not one of them. Some of us need to stay behind to tend the home front. We pack away the Christmas decorations. And we see that the walkways are shoveled; the grandkids get to sled on Art Hill; and the new generation of snowmen are artfully portrayed.
Meanwhile, Back in the Midwest
Wintering in the Midwest, though, I do miss the sun, sand, and surf. But during my hibernation, I also miss several foods, that I especially enjoy when in the Sunshine State.
Here are five of my Florida favorites, sorely missed:
Fresh, Squeezed Florida Orange Juice.
Some say Florida OJ is the best in the world. I have no argument with that. But why is it so doggone good?
First, the oranges grow in a warm, sunny climate. Such conditions allow the fruit to ripen slowly, giving it the right balance of sweetness and acidity.
Then the oranges are picked at peak ripeness. Being overripe, or under ripe, can cause a bitter taste.
When you squeeze the juice directly from the orange, more of the goodness stays intact. (Commercially processed juice is often pasteurized, reducing the flavor and aroma.)
Conch is an exotic mollusk served frequently in Florida and the Caribbean. Proper cooking of the conch brings out a bounty of flavor. Once it’s tenderized and batter fried, the crispy, golden fritters makes a wondrous dish.
This classic sandwich is a staple of South Florida. But, like other sandwiches, they come in all varieties. Some are loaded with mystery meat; others are dry as a bone. The locals know to look for a place with a long line.
Key Lime Pie