It’s that special time of year when the Halloween candy is finally finished, and right before the Christmas chocolate avalanche is released, that the Autumn flavors of the Pumpkin Pie reign.
Every since I was little, I have been a fan of Pumpkin Pie. The rich warm scents of cloves, cinnamon, and ginger that would fill the house during the day before Thanksgiving just carried with it the promise of good times and great food. All that great food was just to serve as a prelude to what I felt was the real reason for the feast, the Pumpkin Pie.
The Life of (Pumpkin) Pie
Justin: I know, right?
The modern Thanksgiving holiday has actually been the subject of several debates about when and where it was held. The most commonly (but not universally!)held belief is that it was celebrated in 1621 at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. Then, the feast was prompted by a good harvest. The tradition of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular thing until the late 1660’s.
As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God”.
Amen to that and pass the mashed potatoes, mister President!
President Washington was sure on to something, yet American author Sara Josepha (Buell) Hale is the individual most responsible for making Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. Up until 1863, each state scheduled it’s own holiday – some as early as October and others as late as January! Ms. Hale wrote letters to five different presidents over a period of 17 years. She also published recipes for turkey, stuffing and…pumpkin pie!
Pumpkin Pie did not become a common addition to Thanksgiving dinner until the early nineteenth century. Back then, the English method of preparing pumpkin pie was by stuffing the pumpkin with apples and spices and then baking it whole. Imagine!
The first recorded recipe for “modern” Pumpkin Pie was published in 1796 in the cookbook American Cookery by an Amelia Simmons. That cookbook was the first one devoted to native foods of the Americas.
Nowadays, seasonal Pumpkin-pie flavored products show up all over the place, which I feel is a little distracting.
Pumpkin Latte, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice tortillas chips…you want to know the best way to enjoy the flavor of Pumpkin Pie?
Justin: Is in a goshdarned Pumpkin Pie!
Vange: That was intense, Cariño!
*Ahem*…Pumpkin pie etiquette aside, I hope that you get to enjoy the warmth and camaraderie of being with family and friends this upcoming holiday.
From our family to yours,
P.S. This is also the most important time of year to give to those that may be less fortunate – and more hungry – by giving your time or treasure to your local city’s many volunteer opportunities.
Below is a short list of organizations where you can start your volunteer work to feed the needy.
– One Voice: This Santa Monica-based organization puts on an annual Holiday Food Program where they distribute toys, books and food baskets to more than 2,500 families in the Los Angeles area. Check their Volunteer info page to be a part of the celebration.
– Feeding America is a national network of food banks that is dedicated to making sure over 46 million low-income people in the United States get food. They have multiple donation methods available. See what may work for you!