When you think of Thanksgiving you think of Pumpkin Pie! Okay, maybe you think of turkey or green bean casserole or Jello- but I’m sure pumpkin pie is pretty high on the list. Pumpkins are the symbol of Fall. In early September they start appearing everywhere. Pumpkins in the grocery store, pumpkin patches on the corner, craft pumpkins, pumpkin recipes, pumpkin wreaths, pumpkin spice lattes, pretty much pumpkins galore! They are a major part of Halloween and Thanksgiving, and are sort of a national seasonal obsession. I for one am part of the obsession! I LOVE pumpkin spice candles and admit to lighting them in August!! Pumpkins decorate my home from September to December; and I make Pumpkin Pie almost every year.
Pumpkins are native to the Americas and were a major part of the Native American diet. Pumpkins are part of the Winter Squash family. They contain high amounts of vitamin E, beta carotene and potassium. Due to their reliable storing qualities they provided a high source of nutrition for the Native Americans in the cold winter months.
When the Pilgrims arrived in American the Natives introduced them to Pumpkins. In fact, many scholars believe that the Pilgrims might not have made it through the first winter if not for the stored Pumpkins. To celebrate their survival at the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims would have put pumpkins on the menu. In fact, pumpkin pie has it’s origins with the Pilgrims. They would cut off the top of a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, add honey, eggs, and other spices, replace the top and roast it in the hot ash and coals of a fire. Eventually this yummy sounding creation morphed into our modern pumpkin pie!
I found this cool Pilgrim poem on a website about pumpkins; aptly called allaboutpumpkins.com:
For pottage and puddings and custards and pies
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies,
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon,
If it were not for pumpkins we should be undoon.”
Pilgrim verse, circa 1633
Americans have come along way from pumpkin custards. Now we have the “turkey day treat” pumpkin pie! My pie is a modern take on the original. I used a traditional recipe for the filling, but I made a gluten free crust. I’ve been gluten free since March and I worried about what I would do about pie over the holidays. I never seen gluten free pie crust in the grocery store; so I knew if I wanted pie I would have to make it! I went on Pinterest and found an amazingly tasty and easy recipe. It’s from a blog called Comfortably Domestic and you can find the recipe HERE. I promise it is EASY and TASTY!! Even if you aren’t gluten free you should give it a try!!
For the filling I also found a recipe from another blog on Pinterest. This recipe is called “The Best Pumpkin Pie Filling Ever” and it is true to it’s name!! The blog is called Cooking On A Budget and you can find the recipe HERE. I promise you it is AMAZING! My husband said it tasted like a “pumpkin spice cloud”.
In addition to my pie I used little pumpkins in a cute craft for place cards:
I’m not really sure this counts as a craft! I just wrote all of our names on a mini pumpkin using a sharpie. Next year I think I’ll try using a pretty paint pen, maybe something with a little sparkle. I also got these adorable Thanksgiving plates for my boys at Pottery Barn Kids. They are melamine so we don’t have to worry about breakage! The boys love their “turkey plates” and I think it gives them a sense of occasion.
Enjoy your pumpkin decorations for a few more days and go ahead, have that extra slice of pie!
Graimes, Nicola “Pumpkins” The Practical Encyclopedia of Whole Foods. Annes Publishing Ltd. London, UK (2008) p. 38-37