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2014


The Varsity Fried Pies

-----Original Message----- 
From: Carol
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 6:13 PM
To: phaedrus@hungrybrowser.com
Subject: Fried peach/Apple pie

I have JUST discovered you !!!!

I am almost 70 years old............and I sorta cut my teeth on The Varsity 
food in downtown
Atlanta.  You probably won't remember this, but let's say........... 50 
years ago.......(.to be SURE) The Varsity used to make REAL fried pies.  At 
some point they started BAKING the darn things and forever changed The 
Varsity Fried Pies !

Now, THEIR recipe from WAY BACK, I would love to have.

BUT.................unless my mind is slipping, I remember that the filling 
of the PEACHES ( apples )
were COMPLETELY different, TOO.  TODAY'S peaches are just..............." 
Canned peach pie filling" that can be bought at ANY grocery store.  The 
peaches from " 50 years or so ago " were different.  I WANT to say they used 
" dried stewed peaches ", but I may be wrong.  But, it was NOT the " canned 
peach/apple pie filling ".

Have I given you an IMPOSSIBLE recipe to track down ?

Also.............when you ANSWER, will you answer ME at my email address, or 
must I return to
your site over and over and over to see if you HAVE answered ?

Thank you VERY much.

Carol Cole
Atlanta

If you need any more information, PLEASE HOLLER !

Hi Carol,

Here's the thing: I cannot find any evidence at all that The Varsity stopped frying their peach pies and started baking them. Everything that I can find calls them "fried peach pies." They are called "fried peach pies" on The Varsity's menu and even on the wax paper wrappers that they serve the pies in. See the menu here: The Varsity and the wax paper wrapper here: Varsity Fried Pies

They say that these pies are made from an old family recipe. They might have changed something about the recipe at some point, but I don't think they changed from frying them to baking them. That would be false advertising since they still call them fried peach pies, wouldn't it? Going back fifty years ago, they may have fried them in lard at that time, and then later changed to vegetable oil.

Anyhow, they don't give out that "family recipe", and no one has made a copycat recipe or a "tastes-like" recipe as far as I can tell. I had no success at all locating any recipe for either the "old" or the "new" pies.

In the book "Peaches: a Savor the South Cookbook", author Kelly Alexander says: "The first fried pie that I ever ate was at The Varsity, Atlanta's prototypical beloved fast-food joint, which opened its doors in 1928. Fried peach pies still come in individual waxed paper bags at that restaurant to this day, and they are a singular guilty pleasure. That said, they're not made with fresh peaches."

In most recipes, this kind of fried pie is made with dried peaches, usually not fresh peaches or peach pie filling. I have a recipe for fried peach pies here: Fried Peach Pies and for fried apple and/or peach pies here: Fried Pies. You will need to go to those pages to get the recipes. If you have problems, let me know. If you want to duplicate The Varsity's pies as they were fifty years ago, your best bet is to use a recipe calling for dried peaches or dried apples, and to fry your pies in lard.

I almost always answer requests directly, Carol, and post them on the site, too.

Phaed

I hear folks complaining about the FRIED part of those pies a lot, but no one ever confronts them.  
They are definitely baked, now, though.  Even my Mother remembers how they were different.

That's okay about the fried pies.  THANK you for the link to a " real fried pie ".  I appreciate it.

Carol 
Atlanta

Well, Carol seems convinced that The Varsity's "Fried Peach Pies" are no longer fried. She doesn't give any evidence, though, except that she and her mother remember them being different. That's not quite enough for me. Maybe someone who works at or who worked at The Varsity can settle the question.

From: "Heidi" 
To: phaedrus@hungrybrowser.com
Subject: The Varsity Fried Pie Debacle
Date: Thursday, July 17, 2014 5:56 PM

Hi! They are still fried. I was there earlier this week, and witnessed the frying happening in the back 
(I could see from the ordering counter). We go every few months, and I've never noticed a difference in the taste. 
Though, maybe they use different oil now? Anywoo, I wish I would have taken a picture :/

-Heidi

Mike Ditka's Crab & Basil Pasta

From: Midge
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 1:15 PM
To: phaedrus@hungrybrowser.com 
Subject: Mike Ditka's pasta recipe

Years ago, I ate at Mike Ditka’s restaurant in Chicago on Chestnut Street.  
They had on the menu a very simple pasta dish with lump crab, tomato and basil.  
It is no longer on their menu but wondered please if this is something you might be able to find.

Thank you, Midge

Hello Midge,

I had no success looking for a dish from Ditka’s with lump crab, tomato, and basil. I looked at several online menus from Ditka’s at 100 East Chestnut Street Chicago, Illinois, and they all have a dish called either “seafood diavolo” or “linguine diavolo”, which might be what you mean, but you didn’t say the magic word, which is “shrimp”. These dishes have jumbo shrimp in addition to the ingredients you give. See: Ditka's Restaurants:
Seafood Diavolo: Thin Pasta Tossed with Jumbo Lump Crab, Jumbo Shrimp, Tomatoes, Garlic, Chiles, Basil and Shrimp Broth

That is the only dish on any of the menus that was anywhere close to your description. If Ditka’s ever served such a dish with just the lump crab, then I could find no mention of it.

There are seafood diavolo recipes that call for a variety of seafoods – crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels, etc, but I did not find a recipe that called specifically for lump crab + tomatoes+ basil with no other seafood.

I’ll post this on the site – perhaps a reader can help.

I did find a rather simple “Fra Diovolo Crab Sauce” recipe, but it does not have the basil. Perhaps you can add basil to it. See: Fra Diavolo Crab Sauce

Phaed


School Taffy

-----Original Message----- 
From: Carol 
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2014 8:19 PM
To: phaedrus@hungrybrowser.com
Subject: TAFFY

When I was a student at Decatur High School in Georgia, we had things that 
we sold each year to make money for the school.  This was in...........maybe 
1956 - 1962 , that I remember our selling taffy.  The taffy came in vanilla, 
chocolate, and strawberry.  Each flavor was wrapped in a whitish wax paper 
and was sort of powdery ( maybe xxxxx sugar ) to keep the taffy from 
sticking to the paper.  Each roll of taffy cost .50   Each roll of taffy was 
approximately 6" long and
approximately 2" in diameter.  That is one huge piece of taffy ! The taffy 
was not sticky in holding it.....perhaps because of the white wax paper with 
powder that it was unwrapped from.  It was soft............oh, so soft, and 
pulled EASILY. I have hunted for this taffy for years.  Many people have 
suggested different kinds, but none have been like the kind we used to sell. 
Soft...........so SOFT !  It would almost MELT in your mouth.

Thank you,

Carol
Atlanta, Georgia

Hi Carol,

You don't say whether you students made the taffy yourselves or it was bought from someone outside.

I could not find anything about taffy that mentioned Decatur High School in Georgia.

When searching for a recipe, some things are not much help, like the size and shape of the pieces and the price it was sold for. Almost every taffy recipe that I see calls for dusting with powdered sugar and wrapping in wax(ed) paper.

I'll post this on the site - perhaps a reader can help.

Phaed

-----Original Message----- 
From: Carol 
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014 9:20 AM 
To: Phaedrus 
Subject: Re: TAFFY 

Oh, I'm sorry !

It was made by a company. 

Thanks,

Carol

Carol,

That makes finding the correct recipe quite unlikely. What was the name of the company? Companies make things like taffy in huge batches, using machines. Even if it were possible to get the company recipe, you probably wouldn't be able to use it at home.

Phaed

BUT..........that taffy..........If you don't mind, please ask if anyone knows a company name 
that sold the taffy as fund raisers for schools.  I have a feeling that the company is " long gone ", 
but I will go to the grave remembering that candy.

Carol

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