Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day. Consequently, I’m now thinking of the TV show, Gilligan’s Island.
I grew up watching Gilligan’s Island back in the Olden Days before VCRs and video tapes and cable TV. The series was no longer filming, but the local TV channels had access to the existing episodes.
Where I lived, Gilligan’s Island was shown every Monday through Friday at 4:00 p.m. I’d get home from school, turn on the television, and join the Captain and Gilligan, Thurston and Lovey, the Movie Star, and the Professor and Mary Ann there on Gilligan’s Isle.
Growing up, my family’s desserts were most often layer cakes and chocolate chip cookies; I don’t recall coconut cream pie ever being served in our house. So, as a child, my knowledge regarding coconut cream pies was based solely on the TV show.
What I noticed was that the pies showed up at various times during the episodes, but they were rarely eaten. Instead, they most often supported one of the zany storylines. While I understood why they were used in that way, I couldn’t help but think that maybe they weren’t as tasty as they looked, and maybe that’s why the castaways were so careless with them. Certainly, if I was stuck on an island and had a truly delicious pie available to me, I’d want to enjoy it, not throw it.
I also wondered how the castaways had been able to make the pies. Sure, there were coconuts on the island, but where did they get the rest of the ingredients? How did they bake the pies? And, why was it always coconut cream? Why not mix it up a bit with some banana cream?
Of course, the most basic question, the one that those of us who watched Gilligan’s Island always got around to asking eventually, was how this group of people could build a neighborhood of huts, replicate many of the creature comforts of home, and figure out how to make dessert – yet never manage to repair the hole in the side of the boat.
But then, I’d remind myself that it was a kid’s TV show, not intended to be a true-life documentary. And I’d get back to enjoying the island adventures.
As an adult, I’ve eaten coconut cream pie. I like it. Each bite reminds me, just a tiny bit, of those fun childhood moments.
Happy National Coconut Cream Pie Day. Here’s to delicious desserts and fond memories of lighthearted entertainment.