Two days ago, I got chastised for presenting a patient as if they were a story, rather than a case.

The attending I was working with looked at me and said, “There’s a reason why they’re called cases.  Their illness is a mystery that we need to solve.  With everything you tell me, you want to build an argument, layer by layer, towards a certain diagnosis.  Persuade me that what you think is wrong, is actually right.”


I should know that already from all the Grey’s Anatomy that I’ve been watching lately. It’s been getting under my skin and into my brain and in-between my toes.

Even with McDreamy setting a perfectly lovely example, though. I still want to lay a patient’s history out on the table.  Every piece equal, round, and reactive to light.  Like their pupils.  (Hopefully.  Unless there’s cranial nerve III damage.  But let’s not go there.)

But, especially by the time we get them, their stores are too complex.  Too multi-dimensioned to really fit neat and clean into one diagnosis.   

What are the pertinent positives?, you\r attending will ask you.

Everything.  Nothing.  Some.  All.  None.

They are here now because of everything that has happened in their past, all taken together, every little bit adding up.  And to say, this patient is peptic ulcer disease.  Definitely.  For sure.  No questions asked.

Seems a bit reductionist.

Picnik collage

Maybe this is why I felt so compelled to bake with the Meyer lemons Shannon sent me for my birthday pretty much immediately upon receiving them.

Regular lemons are great.  Don’t get me wrong.  But they are what they are.  They are tart and tangy.  Stable and secure.  Dependable.

You can sum them up in a sentence.  And not really feel like you’ve sold them short.


And then there are Meyers.

Those little ovoid balls of contradictions that look like a lemon and bite like a lamb.

At once sweet and sour, they are so complex that you want to anthropomorphize them.  Or at least turn them into lemon bars.

Lemon bars, in fact, that are so multi-dimensional that you aren’t sure what to expect with each bite.  So you keep biting.  Bar by bar.  Hoping that maybe, by your twelfth one.  You’ll be able to describe them in a sentence.  Make a diagnosis.  Build your case.


Or perhaps you’ll just keep eating.  And listening.  Patient after patient.  Story after story.  Picking up the minutiae.  The details.  And creating, in your mind, a life rather than a case.  Idealistic and markedly un-jaded, I know.  But hopeful.

835 Story Tour

This post is part of the 835 Story Tour. To view more stories or submit your own, click here.


Meyer Lemon Bars
Makes 24, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the crust:
1/2 lb butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp meyer lemon zest
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice)
1 cup flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2. For the crust, cream together the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter and beat just until mixed.  Put the dough on a well-floured board and form into a ball.  With floured hands, flatten the dough into the baking pan.  Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

3. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Let cool on a wire rack.

4. For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.  Let cool to room temperature.  Cut into squares or triangles.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

I am submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Yasmeen of Health Nut.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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115 Responses to Meyer Lemon Bars

  1. I’m thinking about buying my own Meyer lemon tree. Yummy on the lemon bars–a favorite around here.


  2. girlichef says:

    There’s that elusive Meyer Lemon I hear so much about. I’m almost convinced that it actually exists 😉 These look awesome. I still have my eyes open for proof that they’re real, though. hee hee hee

  3. Julie says:

    I’m convinced you were indeed a story teller in another life. I’d love to listen to the story these lemon bars are telling 🙂

  4. Shannon says:

    I keep picking up a bag of Meyer Lemons at the supermarket and then putting them down. Now I have a reason to bring them home! I love lemon bars. I love lemons, period. (Probably quite obvious…).

    Also, I feel loosely (very loosely) connected to McDreamy because he’s from Maine (so am I) and because my best friend’s parents know his uncle or something. I’m practically famous by association.

  5. I’ve been looking for a good lemon bar recipe! I’ve never heard about meyer lemons before, thanks for letting me know, I’ll keep an eye out, thanks!

  6. Great photos! I always like to imagine that Grey’s Anatomy is just like reality for people becoming doctors.

  7. These would make my weekend so bright and cheerful. Just looking at them does it actually. Enjoy!

  8. I am totally addicted to lemon bars (and lemon curd..)These ones look divine!

  9. Raina says:

    Beautiful lemon bars. Can you believe I have never had a Meyer lemon? I know, weird.

    I think you will make such a great doc. I know you will find a Mcdreamy too:) I type doctors’ notes. I have done it so long that by the time I get to the end of the report, after hearing all of the symptoms and the doc’s exam and lab results, many times I can figure out what the doctor is going to say the diagnosis

  10. You know these will be on my table quicker than you can say meyer lemon!!!!!!!!!!

  11. marla says:

    It is very apparent that I need to get a hold of some meyer lemons. And make bars. Thank goodness I do not need to tend to patients 😉

  12. Candace says:


    I was going out to see if I could find a TJ Maxx in NH and now, I think I have to bake. Lemon bars are my favorite and I have some beautiful Meyer lemons that were going to be another lemon olive oil cake…and now they simply must be bars. yum!!

  13. daphne says:

    I have not seen a lemon that is orange colour! how intriguing! no meyer lemons here might have to make do with normal lemons 🙁

  14. Love anything citrusy! Lemon bar sounds perfect.

  15. Shawnda says:

    Fabulous story, what a wonderful way to convey the complexities of the meyer lemon.

    I can only hope that our meyer lemon tree does something this year so I’m “forced” to make lemon bars with them!

  16. Amy says:

    Your friend sent you Meyer lemons too? You and I have the best friends! After I whined and complained when running out of the batch of 30, my pal Rachel showed up at my door step with 20 more. I think I’m indebted to her for life.

    So, I have my homemade lemon curd coming out of my ears (this is not a bad thing), but when I went scouring the interweb for lemon bar recipes, I was completely overwhelmed by the selection…and gave up.

    I should have known you would provide one for me. I just needed to be patient. Not my strong suit.

  17. I never heard of meyer lemon! Is it possible to add sugar to ordinary lemon so it acts as a substitute for meyer? And is it possible to present your story using different words so it appears like a case but the message remains the same?

  18. vanillasugar says:

    that first pic is KILLER. never can find those lemons around these here parts LOL. Maybe whole foods….

  19. brandi says:

    Those. look. awesome 🙂

    i got some meyer lemons from her, too! I can’t wait to use them this week. I’ve never had them before since I can’t get them here!

  20. Nicole says:

    Holy mother of all thing holy… those look amazing. I’ve got a weak-ass lemon bar recipe that i make once in a while – not often since it’s just sugar and butter that proceeds directly to my butt – but… wow – those look like i want to lick my screen! Thanks for sharing and maybe soon i’ll be trying them!

  21. I love lemon flavored desserts! This bars looks like an answer to my prayers..I am sick, my taste buds have gone on a vacation and this tangy bar just might bring it back. Have a nice weekend!

  22. Shenee says:

    what?!?! This was amazing girl!

    Those little ovoid balls of contradictions that look like a lemon and bite like a lamb.

    Really good! I know people will enjoy this : )

  23. Claudie says:

    That is a great post with a great recipe too. I really enjoyed reading it. And I found your lemon bars to look very alluring. It’s a shame I haven’t made any lemon bars yet, considered that “Meyer” is my husband’s family name 😀

  24. Sanjeeta kk says:

    I don’t get Meyer lemons here, Joanne 🙁 Wish I could eat that lovely slice and get a taste of it.

  25. Jo,
    These look amazing!
    When do you have time to study?
    Have a great weekend!

  26. Kristin says:

    I love lemon bars. Yours look amazing!

  27. Looks fantastic, anything with a Meyer is just perfect to me!

  28. *sigh* Why do the treats you bake up always looks so fabulous?? Why do you persist in driving me to bake?
    And should I gather by the presence of your grater that you don’t have a microplane zester? because if you don’t, you need one asap. It makes zesting lemons so much less dangerous for the fingers.

  29. Katerina says:

    My dear friend Joanne if your doctors look like the ones in Grey’s anatomy (because I happen to watch the series) then you chose the perfect job. These lemon bars just remind me of spring for which I desperately long to come!

  30. That Girl says:

    Hmmmm, maybe you.should switch from Grey’s to House. You know, that other really realistic medical show where the doctors leave the hospital to investigate the homes of the patients.

  31. Ada says:

    Getting to hear everyone’s different stories is definiately a major reason why I want to be a doctor. Whenever I’m in the ER I love to just sit with patients and hear about their life and how they ended up where they are now (particularly the prisoners from Rikers Island, since they almost always have interesting stories).

    I just added this to my ever-growing recipes-from-Joanne-that-I-must-make-while-on-spring-break list;)

    Have a nice weekend!

  32. RamblingTart says:

    Is it odd that I saw your lemon bars and instantly started craving homemade macaroni and cheese? Probably. 🙂 These are lovely, Joanne. I like the flecks of color very much.

  33. Mo 'Betta says:

    Delish. I haven’t seen Meyer lemons here, however, this shouldn’t surprise me.

  34. Beautiful photos. My local Costco started carrying Meyer lemons but I haven’t wanted to spend the extra dollar or two on them because I don’t quite know what to do with them. Thanks for this recipe.

  35. Kimberley says:

    If only every doctor were as awesome. I love how you tied everything together here.

  36. Shannon says:

    i really need to get to costco again before they’re gone… i miss them so much. love. and these bars? maybe this weekend!!

  37. Tasha says:

    I’ve had a craving for lemon bars lately. I will take this as a sign I’m meant to make them!

  38. Victoria says:

    Lemon bars are even better with Meyer lemons. Classic and delicious 🙂

  39. Cassie says:

    I have never seen someone interweave the story of lemons & life so convincingly and deliciously. You are fantastic, lady!

    Now immediately going to the grocer & buying ingredients for these magnificent lemon bars. OM NOM NOM

  40. My meyer lemon tree is about to unload a bunch of lemons. Now I have the perfect recipe to use some of them up. Lemon bars are always a perfect idea but the meyer kick is something special.

  41. Mary says:

    These really look wonderful and sound delicious. The flecks make them irresistible. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  42. Joanne, I’m on your blog making your lemon bars… Yummmm! Can’t wait to have them tonight.


  43. Mmm looks delicious. The art of learning how to present is difficult and it changes with each attending! As a surgical specialty though, we like them short, sweet, and completely reductionist. Sounds like you’re more of a medicine person!

  44. Swathi says:

    This meyer lemon bars are awesome. love to try that tangy piece. I don’t watch grey’s anatomy. your story looks great.

  45. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Lemon bars are a favorite in this house. These look delish! Blessings, Catherine

  46. chrysta says:

    sssoo beautiful. lemon bars just brighten my day and your pictures are absolutely fabulous-o!

  47. Pam says:

    You are the best story teller and you are the best cook/baker too. Why don’t you move to Oregon, live next door to me, practice medicine here, bake and cook, then invite me over to tell me stories and feed me. Sound good? Good.

  48. Eliana says:

    A-MA-ZING! These could not look more delicious and kudos on the photos girl. My only complaint is that I don’t have a couple of these to nibble on right now.

  49. Lemon bars looks so the flavour of lemon..yum!

  50. teresa says:

    i have never tried a meyer lemon, but after hearing about it, i HAVE to try one.

    i LOVE these bars, lemon bars are God’s gift to the citrus lover.

  51. Right when I saw that you had also made lemon bars I had to see yours! Different recipe, but yours still look delicious…and gorgeous photos! 🙂

  52. Kim says:

    Yep- I’m pretty sure I could eat at least six of these back to back to back, forget the concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner. These look incredibly addictive.

    By the way, you totally got me with the word anthropomorphize. I had to look it up. Thanks for the vocab lesson:)

  53. These melon bars look absolutely mouth watering! Thank you for visiting my blog.

  54. Kristen says:

    That photo of the used lemons is just brilliant, Joanne!

  55. Tracy says:

    I love Meyer lemon bars! Yours look lovely!

  56. Suman Singh says:

    everything with lemon is yummie..These looks absolutely delicious!

  57. aipi says:

    Lately I had a fascination with citrus based baked goodies and this one look like something I should definitely try..thanks for sharing 🙂

    US Masala

  58. I can almost taste lemon from your second picture.These bars look exoctic.Wish cud lay my hands on some.

  59. Just yesterday i was telling a blogger pal , that i have been wanting to have a meyer lemon ,ever since i read about it ,have a whiff or atleast go somewhere near to it ,and its not happening ,yet:-(
    Now im looking for someone who would be kind to send me some seeds or some along with a batch :-)lol.
    Oh Meyer lemons , u elude me and now with all this story telling Jo has , i WANT.THEM.NOW.
    And babe, u always tell us suc wonderful stories , about life and what happens around ur fantastic kitchen that churns deliciousness ,in and out.
    ANd these bars , m sitting in the car , watching these and am hopn my bro’s doesnt sight these , one of the few , v few, desserts, he loves lemon bars and curds:-)
    Happy weekend.

  60. That's Ron says:

    Dear Joanna,

    Please send some over here. I will send you my address 😉

  61. Lea Ann says:

    I’ve seen several posts for lemon bars and lime bars. Gotta make some of these beautiful and wonderful treats.

  62. Barbara says:

    What can I add? Killer recipe! And I so wish I could make these this afternoon. 🙁

  63. That first photo really caught my attention! What a delicious-looking lemon bar. I wish Meyers were more readily available here!

  64. La Liz says:

    Ooooh, there’s nothing like a Meyer Lemon, and you’ve described the experience beautifully. Your diagnostic approach makes me hopeful; and with doctors like you, we’ll be in good hands.

  65. Megan says:

    I. absolutely. love. meyer lemon bars!! These look so good!! Now, where to find me some meyer lemons?? (lucky for me my husband does not like lemon desserts…so I can hoard them for myself instead of finding just crumbs…yes!!)

  66. Dimah says:

    These look absolutely amazing!!!!

  67. Maria says:

    I’m dying to get my hand on Meyer lemons but I still haven’t been able to find them here! These look so delicious, I’m a huge fan of lemony desserts!

  68. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I’m totally jealous! I have yet to even try Meyer lemons…sigh. I need to make friends with some bloggers who can send me some of these little citrus gems!

  69. It’s been far too long since I’ve had lemon bars. And I’ve still yet to do anything with meyer lemons this season. Agh! I’ve been slacking!

  70. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Thank you for your birthday wishes. Have a wonderful, fun-filled Sunday. Blessings, Catherine xox

  71. Kerstin says:

    Looks like the perfect recipe to use them in 🙂 I need to try baking with them!

  72. I love Meyer lemons! I think they are the best when it comes to baking desserts!

  73. Now I need to make another trip to town to get more Meyer lemons- these bars are not to be missed!

  74. This is a great post with a fascinating insight into your job…and equally fascinating ( at least to me) insight to Meyer Lemon! We don’t have these in Singapore and I saw them for the first time at Dean & Deluca yesterday! Fascinating!

  75. grace says:

    the world of grey’s anatomy is so far from my reality that i can’t even compare the two, which is probably why i enjoy it so much!
    i’ve never eaten meyer lemon anything, as far as i know. i’m curious to see just how different they are from regular ones.

  76. Beth says:

    Nothing beats a lemon recipe. Meyer lemons are a little challenging to find here, but you’ve convinced me to track some down. These squares look amazing!

  77. Johanna GGG says:

    I don’t really get the excitement about meyer lemons – but I will be excited when ours ripen – you should see them on the tree even though I can’t tell the difference between them and regular lemons – oh dear – but I love your stories and want to tell your supervisor not to stunt your creativity – I love it too much! If I was your patient I would want a story, not just the cold hard facts!

  78. Julie says:

    I love Meyer Lemons. I am trying to grow my own. They’re hard to find here! Your lemon bars look so declicious.

  79. Martha (MM) says:

    Love, love, love Meyer lemons! Love Grey’s Anatomy too. Your recipe sounds wonderful and the photos are awesome (but then again they always are)!

    Just popping in for my usual weekend visit – will be back to regular visits sooner or later.

    Hope all is well in your world my friend 🙂

  80. argh, I wish I could get Meyer lemons here.

  81. Those lemon bars look freaking good! I think I will have to use normal lemons instead.

  82. I think you are so right in thinking about patients as people, NOT cases. More doctors should have that empathy. Those photos, those lemon bars are truly a joy to gaze upon, but it would be even better to eat one -or two -or five! Must try this recipe.

  83. i’m becoming increasingly obsessed with lemons. looks delicious!

    xo Alison

  84. MMMMMMMMMMMMMM,..;Your bars are looking magnificent, tasty & well flavoured too!

  85. gotnomilk says:

    Looks so good. Love Meyer lemons!

  86. I love anything with meyer lemons. Your bars look delicious. Thanks for stopping by my blog:)

  87. Nicole, RD says:

    There really is no comparing a Meyer lemon to any other. Their skin is so delicate and perfect for using the rind. Obviously. YUM. Any recipe that starts with 1/2 lb of butter just can’t go wrong. They look amazing! Especially for the imminent spring weather…riiiight? Here’s hoping..

    Thanks for the well wishes, my dear! I am still not convinced my diagnosis was correct. But what do I know? 🙂

  88. I have trouble finding Meyer lemons too. These bars look so good. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Hope all is well.

  89. Dana says:

    I’m kind of on the fence about those Meyers but I know their sweetness would be very welcome in a lemon bar. That is probably my favorite kind of cookie thing that is not chocolate.

    Now, I have to tell you. My dad had a very successful oncology practice for about 30 years. He made lots of money, was well-respected, saved a lot of people’s lives. But the thing I hear every single time I meet someone who was treated by him, or had a family member treated by him, was what a wonderful MAN he is. Not doctor. Man. This is because he has a heart and is human and sees people as people not cases. Clearly you are on a similar path and your patients, and their families, will be forever grateful.

  90. Julie says:

    i feel like i just read an episode of greys haha like i could just picture meredith reading what you wrote. seriously it was awesome. the only thing greys episodes are missing are lemon bars

  91. Elizabeth says:

    I saw Meyer lemons at the grocery store this morning and thought about buying them. Maybe I should go back and pick some up – these looks great!

  92. I love this meyer lemon bar. I am waiting for my meyer lemons to ripe in winter to make this!!

  93. Reeni says:

    You are so lucky for getting the Meyer Lemons! I have yet to lay my hands or eyes on one. These look delectable! So refreshing and Spring-like.

  94. Esi says:

    I’m pretty much obsessed with Meyer lemons. These sound great.

  95. Meyer lemons, how do I love thee? They make the best curd!!

  96. Miriam says:

    Beautiful writing. Lemon bars are such a fabulous treat, I’m sure these are indeed amazing :), Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  97. These sound absolutely terrific, too bad I just used my last Meyer lemon 🙁

  98. Monet says:

    I try to weave a story everywhere I go…and i can only imagine the tales that you can tell. These bars look great. Don’t you love those Meyers? Thank you for sharing! I hope you have a happy week. Your posts bring me joy…thank you for being you!

  99. tigerfish says:

    At a quick glance, I thought they were oranges!

  100. Andaliman says:

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  101. Andaliman says:

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  102. I love Meyer lemons and I truly love lemon bars although I went through a period of having them never turn out so I think I psyched myself out of making them. 😉 These look delicious.

  103. Your lemon bars look so yummy!! I have never seen or tried Meyer lemons before. I thought they were oranges from the first glance.

  104. marla says:

    It is a very good thing I don’t live with you because I would eat all these bars. Gorgeous!

  105. Marisa says:

    I love the pretty orange peel, though sadly I’ll have to use normal lemons as we don’t get the super cool Meyer ones over here. :-/ Luckily I’m a huge fan of citrus, so I don’t mind one bit what kind it is.

  106. wordflux says:

    We used to have a Meyer lemon tree with huge lemons, my all time favorite! Love anything with lemon, great recipe!

  107. Joanne!
    I loved your description of meyer lemons particularly as just this week I touched, tasted, smelled and coddled my very first one – EVER! Your bars look deadly. We don’t get meyer lemons on the Alberta Prairies but a friend has a tree in her house and brought me a gift!
    I haven’t posted for over 2 weeks which is a first to me in three years, I think. I have been knee deep in the throws of planning a local food conference with our local slow food convivia. Great work. Time well spent, but I miss cooking, writing, reading and YOU!
    I will catch up soon, I hope.

  108. Om nom nom! One of my favorite treats. They look divine!

  109. I’m still dying DYING to get my hands on some meyer lemons. You’re torturing me, Joanne ;p. But seriously (a) they look more like oranges in texture/color than I expected and (b) I can’t resist normal lemon bars of all sorts but this just puts me over completely. Send me some pleeeeease?

  110. […] For more Meyer lemon inspiration, check out these recipes: Meyer Lemon Curd Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Meyer Lemon Bars […]

  111. […] Ingredient: Meyer Lemons Joanne from Eats Well With Others , Meyer Lemon Bars .Sweet and sour ,these lemon bar will sure get your taste buds […]

  112. […] have it? However, I have made some slight alterations to the original recipe (which can be found here at Eats Well With Others), developing a bar that is a little more to my […]

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