I attended college in the United States, but my parents lived overseas, - too far for me to go home for any of the shorter breaks during the year. My grandparents, however, lived about three hours away from my campus, so I would catch a ride to their house during Thanksgiving break. It was always fun to spend the weekend with them, and most of my mother's side of the family would gather for the Thanksgiving meal.
My sophomore year I decided that I should contribute to the meal. I offered to make the pumpkin pies. My friends questioned my sanity, when they learned I had assumed responsibility for such an important part of the dinner. They asked, "Aren't you worried they won't turn out? People take pumpkin pie seriously on Thanksgiving."
Well, I wasn't worried - until they told me I should be.
Suddenly, canned pumpkin didn't sound like such a worthy ingredient. I didn't have a car, and I have no memory of how I transported a big pumpkin back to my dorm; but I do remember cutting one up, boiling it, mashing it with a potato masher, and then draining the puree in a colander. It took a long time, and was a lot more messy in the small dorm kitchen than I had expected!
I was so worried that the pie would not be special enough, that I made a lot of changes to the recipe. I still have the cookbook I used, with most of the amounts of the ingredients crossed out and changed. For example, I doubled the recommended amount of all the spices. It is surprising the pie turned out at all! But - it did.
My pumpkin pies were a huge hit at Thanksgiving that year. I thought perhaps my relatives were just being kind. However, I have made the very same pumpkin pie recipe many times since, and it has always received rave reviews. Fortunately, somewhere along the way, I discovered that using canned pumpkin does not make a difference in the texture or taste ... which greatly simplifies the preparation.
I became very close to my grandparents during those college visits. I have always been thankful for the "home-away-from-home" that they provided for me. Making this pie always brings back those good memories.
Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving Pie recipe?
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