Understand, though, that this isn’t culinary rocket science. You prepare your sweetened fruit filling, spread it onto a thin rolled-out circle of pie dough, fold it into a half-moon shape, mash down the edges with a fork, and drop it into the oil. When it turns a golden brown, sprinkle a little sugar on top, and you’re there. Betty Crocker might be a tad more specific, but basically, that’s it.

So why is the fried pie a Southern dish that has never been embraced nationwide? Lively, for one, is at a loss for an answer. “My husband and I were vacationing in Cozumel, Mexico, recently,” she says, “and we met people there from other parts of the United States who had never even heard of a fried pie.”

And that is a crying shame. If you reside above the Mason-Dixon Line, consider yourself duly warned: You don’t know what you’re missing.