‘Tis time to be thankful and eat pie. 🙂
Though some grow giddy at the mere thought of roast turkey with all the fixins’, for me, Thanksgiving has always been about pie.
Pumpkin pie, to be exact.
Maybe it’s because we only had it once a year. Though we dallied with apple, blueberry, banana cream, custard and pecan at other times, pumpkin pie was largely reserved for Thanksgiving.
To this day, one bite and I’m back in Hawai’i at one of our family potlucks — table laden not only with turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, yams, several hot veggies, and fresh cranberry sauce, but also pineapple glazed ham, steamed rice, makizushi, pork and vegetable lo mein, at least two kinds of kimchi, a retro Jell-O salad, and a roast chicken for Grandma Yang, who did not like turkey.
Yes, we relished every savory mouthful of this lovingly prepared homemade spread, but I always knew, deep down, that the best was yet to come.
Here’s a delectable poem to whet your appetite.
WHEN THE PIE IS COOLING by Camille A. Balla I recall the first Thanksgiving I was designated to be the pumpkin-pie baker and for years thereafter; pies made with the excitement of family homecoming -- always making the dough from scratch. Today I call upon the Pillsbury boy to make and roll out the circle of dough which I place into the pan, then add the traditional filling with just the right amounts of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. The November chill makes cozy the warmth from the oven as I await the sweet, spicy aroma, telling me when the pie is just about done. How satisfying it is to delight once again in this simple work of my hands. I think of the many hands along the way to my kitchen that made possible the baking of this pie: The grower of the pumpkin, the wheat farmer, the dairy farmer, the egg farmer, the hands that picked the sugar cane. The hands of workers in a cannery, of truckers who transport foods to the store, the hands of the people who shelve ingredients that come from here or far-off lands. Hands of people I never met yet all of them a part -- whether aware or not -- of this pumpkin pie now ready to be served at my Thanksgiving table.
A lovely poem with equal measures of reflection and gratitude — one that resonates with us all.
The nice thing about pumpkin pie is that it’s easy to make from scratch, thanks to canned pumpkin purée. Libby’s is the brand that dominates the market; they were the first to offer canned pumpkin on a large scale back in 1929. Thank goodness we don’t have to roast and strain our own squash! BTW, did you know Libby’s isn’t actually pumpkin, but another kind of squash with orange flesh called Dickinson?
But thanks to Libby’s, the ease of making pumpkin pie at home ensured its place in America’s holiday traditions.
Now, if you want to trace the actual origin of ‘pumpkin pie,’ we have to credit — you guessed it — the British, who made the very first version in the mid 1500’s. Though the Pilgrims brought it with them to America in the 1600s, apparently ‘pie’ wasn’t served at the very first Thanksgiving (though other pumpkin based recipes were).
Their version of pumpkin pie, served during subsequent three-day harvest festivals, was one sans crust. They simply washed and hollowed out a pumpkin, filled it with cream or milk, then baked it whole. By the 18th century, pumpkin pie had become an established part of autumn harvest celebrations.
The very first published recipe for modern pumpkin pie (called ‘pompkin pudding’) appeared in Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery (1796). This was the first cookbook containing recipes using ingredients native to the Americas.
Well, it looks like the pie Poppin’ Fresh baked a little while ago is just about cooled. Would you like a piece? Yum to cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger — spices that are synonymous with the holidays. They always smell so good!
Must mention my shock at attending my first New Hampshire Thanksgiving with Len’s family many years ago. No pumpkin pie! Len says he didn’t grow up having it at Thanksgiving (to this day, he’s pretty neutral about it). They usually had apple or mince pie instead.
So, tell me, New England people, is pumpkin pie not a Thanksgiving tradition in your neck of the woods? Maybe Len’s family was just an exception.
Truly though, if you invited me over for Thanksgiving, I’d happily devour any kind of pie you put in front of me. 😀
But now it’s time to express gratitude.
Foremost in my mind is to thank America for voting this year. I am grateful for all those who stood in line for hours and hours amid a raging pandemic, who made a plan and voted ahead of time, who wouldn’t let anything stop them from exercising their constitutional right.
And thanks to the poll workers, the thousands who counted an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots, persisting despite attacks on their integrity.
I cannot overstate my deepest gratitude to African American voters, especially the black women who have long formed the backbone of the Democratic Party (I’m totally in awe of their grassroots organizing and no-nonsense determination to get the job done!).
Is it not ironic, as well as heart wrenching, how the group most denigrated and oppressed in our nation’s history, who continue to be the targets of voter suppression as well as systemic racism, are the very ones who saved our democracy?
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I'll rise.*
When they stood up for themselves, they ultimately stood up for all of us.
We must never forget that.
I am thankful that come January 20 we will have a new President and Vice President, a fresh chance to right the ship and turn the page for a more just, equitable, inclusive, kinder nation . . .
Wherever you are, whomever you’re sharing your Thanksgiving with this year, we wish you the ultimate in deliciousness, lots of lip smacking leftovers, and at least nine kinds of pie, including pumpkin.
Mr Cornelius, 70-something Paddingtons, Blue Bear, Le Lapin Rotund, and Pie Girl
P.S. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Carol is hosting the Roundup at Carol’s Corner. Be sure to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. Hope you’re having a nice Thanksgiving weekend!
*excerpt from “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
**Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.