Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

When they arrived in the New World, early settlers of North America were introduced to a big orange squash called a pumpkin. So enamored with the vegetable were we, it soon because a part of our cuisine and our autumn traditions. During Halloween, we carve them into scary-faced Jack O’ Lanterns, but in November, they are instead baked into the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, Pumpkin Pie.

It would be safe to assume that Americans invented pumpkin pie then, right? Nope, not exactly. Although pumpkins are unique to North America, with seeds excavated in Mexico that date back to 7,000 BCE, they were mainly exported to France and England during colonial times. Each country recognized that they would make a good pie filling, but each had a different take.

The English preferred to take the pumpkin flesh and combine it with apples and spices. The French created more of a custard-based concoction, giving the pie a creamier filling that is much closer to what we are accustomed to today. What’s interesting is that pumpkin pie didn’t become popular in the United States until the 1800s, after the Europeans demonstrated that those big squashes actually were good for something.

Today, it would seem that our infatuation with the pumpkin has only grown. Granted, the flavor that most are used to comes far more from the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove and allspice than from the actual pumpkin, but that flavor is now common in such foods as ice cream, cheesecake, pancakes and even beer, not to mention those decadent Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes that are all the rage every fall.

Granted, pumpkin pie isn’t for everyone and some people loathe the traditional dessert. But a Thanksgiving meal just wouldn’t seem complete with a nice slice of the orange pie, topped with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. It may not be uniquely American, but we have embraced it just the same.

If you are a fan of pumpkin pie, or have anything you would like to share about this Thanksgiving tradition, we welcome your thoughts in our comments section below.

2 Responses to “Pumpkin Pie”

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  1. Ahhh…yes! The traditional favorite, have LOVED it ever since the first time I had it! Missed out on it once, but made up for that, will never miss out on it again–just baked one!

  2. Gina says:

    I passed over pumpkin pie for years because I assumed I didn’t like it. Then a year or two ago, I tried some and liked it. I had some earlier this year and didn’t like it anymore.

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