Friday, November 26, 2010

THE Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie: I never liked it while I was growing up. But then I fell in love with a man who did.

Joe and I married after knowing one another for only three months...which I don't recommend but it's worked well for me for 36 years! Our first Thanksgiving together found me at his parents' home in Appalachia, Virginia, sitting around the table as the dessert offerings were named. Boiled Custard, Soft Sugar Cookies, Brownies, Fruit Cocktail Cake and yes, Pumpkin Pie.

I chose the Brownie. My husband of six months looked at me with that "what is wrong with you?!?!" look on his face. The following conversation ensued:

husband: "You're not having Pumpkin Pie? It's Thanksgiving!"

wife: "I don't happen to like Pumpkin Pie."

husband: "Have you TRIED Pumpkin Pie?"

wife: "Yes, and I didn't like it. Too many spices."

husband: "Well, you haven't had Mom's..."

Realizing that my new family was looking at me incredulously...I proceeded to order one small slice of Pumpkin Pie. And the Brownie. Conversations around the table resumed and I thought I'd probably 'scored' by conceding to try the all-important pie.

When my dessert plate was placed in front of me, the conversations stopped while I picked up my fork. Everyone was smiling and waiting. They knew something I didn't. I took a safe-sized bite of the pie, just in case I needed to inconspicuously remove it from my mouth when no one was looking. But that safe-sized bite of Pumpkin Pie turned out to be good. Really good. I mean REALLY, really good! As I smiled and picked up the next forkful, which was slightly larger than the safe one...conversations around the table picked up their normal volumes and all was well at the Green House.

My husband leaned over and said: "Isn't that the best Pumpkin Pie you've ever had?" And I had to was! Thirty-six 'Green-family Thanksgivings' under my belt and I've only missed eating that delicious pie once. That was when I was spending that day of gratefulness in a hospital room with many other family members, praying over and loving the woman who had served me that first slice of her famous Pumpkin Pie. She went to Heaven not long after that. Her Pumpkin Pie is a staple at our dinner tables during the holidays.

My sweet mother-in-law has been in Heaven for almost two years. Yesterday, as I was rolling out the crust for her Pumpkin Pie, I cried. I miss her. Every day.

Here is the recipe for:

Mom's Pumpkin Pie

1 small can pumpkin
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 T. molasses
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/4 cup evaporated milk or rich cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 T. melted butter

Mix all ingredients and bake in unbaked pie shell at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 40 to 45 minutes or until a silver knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the pie. Let cool before serving.

As always, a good reminder to close with:
If you have a pulse, you have a purpose...make your life count!