This type of weather dictates that one sits on one's ass to read and watch television. For the reading, I've been sipping Desert Queen, the history of Gertrude Bell and her role in forming the modern political boundaries of the Middle East. For the viewing, I've been gobbling up Season 1 of Saturday Night Live.
My parents tell me that, one night when I was a baby, the three of us fell asleep in front of the television while trying to stay awake to watch Saturday Night Live. They woke to me screaming. I had woken up and seen the stunt baby skit. Do you remember that skit? The premise was that the troupe had a baby who did all her own stunts, but though most of the skit starred a real child, for the actual stunt a doll replaced the child. I was too young to understand the joke or the baby swap, so when I saw the baby get hurt, I was terrified.
As the anecdote illustrates, I've been watching Saturday Night Live since I was pooping in my tiny pants. The show began the year I was born, and though we didn't watch a lot of the cartoons or other shows that people from my generation remember in our household, we did regularly watch SNL. While the show and its ebbs and flows have been a regular part of my life, I'm not the type of fan that watches the "Best of" episodes or one who idolizes her favorite past cast members. For the most part, I don't watch reruns, nor do I catch every episode. While I never would have added done it myself, ECG, who is younger than I am and has never seen most of the early seasons, had added it to our instant view Netflix list, and I am glad that he did.
Watching Season 1 has been a fascinating exercise. The comedy was sweeter than what we see in current episodes. In one show, the "home movie" piece was simply a montage set to Simon and Garfunkle's "Homeward Bound" of many people meeting their loved ones at the airport. Chevy Chase started each episode with a slapstick trip and fall. Yes, there were sex and drug jokes, but even they seem milder. And to see these comedians young and healthy makes me happy. John Belushi is clear-eyed and funny; Chevy Chase is skinny, tongue-tied, and cute as a bug's ear; Gilda Radner is cheerfulness-incarnate and cancer-free; at least, this is how all of these people look to me as I watch them. It's unrealistic, but it is an unrealistic nostalgia I allow myself. I choose it. How could I not? Saturday Night Live and I grew up together, and with friends this old, one must love the best parts and let the rest go.
**********My Mama's Lemon Sour Cream Pie
This falls into the category Ann calls Creamy Evil. It is delicious and unhealthy and impossible to stop eating. Like Saturday Night Live, it has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Comforting and cheerful, to eat it makes me happy. I apologize for the lack of picture. This is the type of pie that when placed in front of others disappears immediately.
You will need:
1 homemade (preferably all-butter) prebaked pie crust
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 generous tablespoon of fine grated lemon zest
1 cup sour cream
plenty of barely sweetened, vanilla-spiked whipped cream
To make the pie:
Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Add the egg yolks, milk, butter, lemon juice, and peel. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is thick. As soon as the mixture thickens, remove it from heat, scoop it into another container, and refrigerate it for at least two hours.
Once the mixture is cool, stir in the sour cream until completely combined. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and chill the entire pie until ready to serve. Just before serving, spread a generous layer of whipped cream over the surface of the filling.Serve the pie to those friends you love, both new and old.