Coconut custard pie: Snippets from the frontline

A yearly challenge for some medical students is paying for tuition, books, and housing. This worsened midway through my second year with dwindling funds and loans exhausted. Dropping out was a possibility.

By chance, a friend brought over a slice of pie and gave me the recipe. I changed several ingredients, and as it turned out, this “doctored” coconut custard pie became my economic salvation.

A new restaurant had opened nearby, so I pitched samples evolving into making 8 pies a day, 6 days a week. Getting up before dawn, it took 2 hours to complete baking, then prior to class, I would drop them off at the restaurant.

In the evening, I would pick up the empty pie pans to again be filled the next day. I made a sizable profit.

No dropping out of school, and surprisingly, my friend upon receiving a slice asked for the recipe unaware it was a version he had given me.

Eventually when neighbors heard I was moving, they mourned the loss of undulating morning aromas permeating our community.

Maybe I should have been a chef, but satisfying the soul was more important than satisfying the palate.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.


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