The Story Behind the Recipe

laughing lemon pie

The “Laughing Lemon Pie” is a family legend passed down through generations.

My grandmother, Joan Carter Archambault, was an excellent home cook who hosted her own TV cooking show in El Paso, Texas in the 1950s called Today’s Kitchen. No recordings of Today’s Kitchen exist, because the entire show was shot live to broadcast, nothing recorded to film or tape.

My grandmother always seemed to me an elegant, poised woman — but she also took no flack from anybody, and was pragmatic and thrifty in all things. If the toast got a little charcoaled, she said it was “browned,” not burned, and they ate it anyway!

As the legend goes, one day she cooked and served a lemon sponge pie to her family, and something had gone wrong. Somehow, she had not added nearly enough sugar. The pie was declared “tart” (which was probably an understatement) and the family went on eating.

Until… Someone at the table said something funny about the pie, and they all began to laugh.

If you’ve never laughed after eating something sour, it has the peculiar effect of making you hurt just at the back and sides of your mouth, at the joint of your jaw.

Well, the fact that laughing hurt was also funny, and then they were all gasping with laughter and clutching their faces in pain.

The incident was so notorious that henceforth, any dish that was perhaps a little tart was known as a “laughing” lemon pie.

About Lacy

Award-winning food journalist and former restaurant reviewer turned mom and blogger, I started this blog as proof to myself that I could be a mom and a foodie.

Of course, my definition of both has changed over time.

Scientists tell us that we make more than 200 decisions about food each day, so it seems only natural that this writer should want to blog about some of them!

I now run my own business as a content strategist at, and Laughing Lemon Pie is the project of my heart.

About Emily

When running multiple blogs and businesses became too much, I brought on Emily Klopstein, a former librarian, former pastry chef, mom, and friend to help me out. She has been an invaluable resource and contributor, and you will find many posts here authored by her as well.

Some posts on Laughing Lemon Pie may be sponsored, but we endeavor to always mention the sponsorship, and all opinions are our own.


  1. Hello – my name is Jaicy. I’m with ROOT PR, a boutique PR agency that promotes living well, including the food and beverage, travel, and health and wellness industries. We’d love to send our clients’ food news to you – is there a good email address for that?

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