Ever wondered why we wait all year to dive into a huge slice of pumpkin pie? With a golden brown crust, bright orange custard filling, and nice cool dollop of whipped cream. It is the perfect ending to a wonderful, family meal. But did you know that perfect slice of pie is a relatively new tradition?
The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts when the pilgrims invited a group of Wampanoag Indians to have a celebration dinner with them to celebrate the first harvest of the Plymouth Colony. The celebration most likely included venison, waterfowl, cranberries (although not as a jelly or sauce), corn, cabbage, and squash. There were pumpkins available, but the pilgrims probably lacked sufficient flour and oven-like baking capabilities. This harvest celebration was held again in the summer of 1623 and different colonies often celebrated a day of thanksgiving during the year by fasting.
It wasn’t until the mid-1800s with a popular magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale decided to write an article about an annual feast of thanks. In her article she published recipes for roast turkey, gravy, stuffing, and a pumpkin pie. It was then that the traditional American thanksgiving menu was established.
The first nationally celebrated Thanksgiving was declared on Thursday, November 26, 1789 by President George Washington. However, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared that Thanksgiving would be held on the fourth Thursday of each November.
The pumpkin pie has faced just about as much evolution as the Thanksgiving holiday itself. After nearly half of the original settlers died from scurvy and exposure during the first harsh winter, historians believe that the pilgrims began to roast and boil pumpkins as a hearty food source. They may have even filled the hollowed out shells with milk, honey and spices and roasted them over hot ashes.
It wasn’t until 1651 with a French chef named Francois Pierre la Varenne wrote the first recipe for a ‘Tourte of Pumpkin,’ a pumpkin puree filled puff pastry. In the 1670s recipes for various pumpkin custards began appearing in English cookbooks. These fillings included the traditional spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It wasn’t until 1796 that the first American cookbook titled American Cookery by Amelia Simmons included a pumpkin pudding baked into a piecrust.
That humble slice of pie sitting on your plate has been on quite a journey. So from all of us at American Dream Cakes, we would like to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!