Thanksgiving is so close that I can almost smell it! The day provides a plethora of smells that slowly build over the course of the day until the much-anticipated time of feasting arrives. Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving dish. For you it may be turkey or dressing or mashed potatoes or giblet gravy or sweet potatoes or oysters or homemade roles or just maybe it is dessert! One of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving treats is pecan pie. Not just any pecan pie- specifically my Mom’s pecan pie. Make no mistake, my wife is a fantastic cook as evidenced by my steadily increasing waistline over the years. But my Mom’s pecan pie has been one of my favorites since long before I had even met my wife.
Now you might label me a heretic for preferring pecan pie to pumpkin pie but perhaps I am just more enlightened. Pumpkin pie was not served that first Thanksgiving, they may have served a pumpkin custard which was cooked and served in the pumpkin which sounds rather nasty anyway. But I am just not a fan of pumpkin pie. If you give me a sufficient quantity of whipped cream to go along with the pie, I can eat it, but it is not my favorite. Honestly, doesn’t pumpkin pie seem like baby food baked in a pie crust? Here is something for you to chew on – depending on how you define “pumpkin” there may not even be any of it in that pumpkin pie to profess to like! When you hear the word “pumpkin” the image that pops instantly into your mind is probably a round, bright orange one like the one you purchased at Halloween to carve into a jack-o-lantern. That kind is edible, but it is not very good for cooking. The word “pumpkin” can apply to two of the three varieties of winter squash and within these two varieties can be found the Dickinson pumpkin which is not nearly as photogenic as the nice picture that is on the label, but does work much better for making pies. Your can of pumpkin is most likely a Dickinson pumpkin with a misleading profile photo.
Which brings me back to pecan pie. I much prefer pecan pie to pumpkin. But I am picky. I do not like pecan pies that are too soupy or too hard or the crust is too dry and or the pecans are chopped into tiny pieces and almost every pecan pie I have ever purchased or been served has at least one of those issues. But not my Mom’s pecan pie. In my memory every one has been perfect – firm, sweet, the top covered with pecan halves, cooked just right. I can almost taste it this very minute.
Enjoy your pumpkin pie if you want, that will leave a few more slices of pecan pie for me.
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