Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When life gives you lemons...

"...You may be given a load of sour lemons, why not try to make a dozen lemon meringue pies?" -- Maya Angelou

The other day, a neighbor gave us lemons from her lemon tree. It was perfect timing because I had intended to make lemon bars to honor the 4-year anniversary of my father's passing on January 15 (which is today). Why lemon bars? Well, lemon pie was my father's favorite dessert, and occasionally, I would bring this treat when I visited father in the nursing home. When lemon pie wasn't available at the bakery, I would bake lemon bars to substitute. Luckily my father did not seem to mind, and I can still visualize the the joy on his face as he enjoyed his lemony delight. With the progression of dementia, father's vocabulary became limited. Interestingly, lemon pie was one of the few phrases he never forgot, and he often reminded me to bring his favorite treat on my next visit. As time went on, I brought lemon bars more often than pies because it was simple to make, but nonetheless delicious. Father's favorite part was the tart, lemony filling.

My father, mother and me next to the lemon bar (made with love).
My paternal grandfather was an actor who provided for his large family through operating a neighborhood bakery. Not surprisingly, my father grew up eating sweets and continued to enjoy them throughout his life. My grandfather's bakery in Japan did not have lemon pies, so it seems father discovered them when we moved to the U.S. I never asked him why he loved lemon pies over every other sweet, but it is one of the details about my father that always makes me smile. The well-known adage suggests, "when life give you lemons, make lemonade." In my case, I make lemon bars. In doing so, January 15th feels more bearable as I reminisce about the many happy moments I shared with my wonderful father.


  1. Lovely homage to the lemon. And lovely family portrait!

    By sheer coincidence, my neighbor handed me a bag of her home-grown lemons yesterday. Will you share your recipe here? My son loves lemon bars. I'd love to send him some since he's holed up in his room because half his fraternity brothers have the flu. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for reading my blog! The recipe I used is very simple, but I would suggest increasing the amount of lemon juice and either using non-stick spray or some other means to keep the sides from sticking to the pan (also, some of the reviews have great tips) Here's the link:

  3. Hi Koko! Happy that I came across your blog today. :-) I had a question and was wondering if you'd be able to email me. I really value your time and response. Thanks so much. I hope you have a wonderful day.