Thanksgiving Day (US)
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!"
~ "Over the River and Through the Wood", Lydia Maria Child, 1844
Hurray for the pumpkin pie! Though most associated with a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, pumpkins were indeed a mainstay of the Pilgrim diet in the New World, though not always in pie form. As a foodstuff, these new world squashes were wonderfully versatile, whether roasted, boiled, parched, or baked. The seeds were eaten and used as medicine, and dried pumpkin was ground into flour, or flattened and woven into mats. Even the gourds were used as bowls or as containers for grain. The ancestor of the pumpkin pie would start with a de-seeded pumpkin, filled with cream, eggs, honey, and spices, and baked in the ash of a cooking fire to create a custardy, crust-less pumpkin pie! By the early 18th century pumpkin pie had earned a place at the table as Thanksgiving became an important New England regional holiday. In 1705 the Connecticut town of Colchester famously postponed its Thanksgiving for a week because there wasn’t enough molasses available to make pumpkin pie! If pumpkin pie is on the menu today either in dance form or with a dollop of whipped cream on top, Happy Thanksgiving! 🎃 🥧
Happy Thanksgiving to all Scottish Country Dancers in North America with a classic dessert, particularly for American Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie.
The American holiday feast dates back to November 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration.
Both the Pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag tribe ate pumpkins and other squashes indigenous to New England—possibly even during the harvest festival—but lacked the butter and wheat flour necessary for a pie crust. Moreover, settlers hadn’t yet constructed ovens for baking. According to some accounts, early English settlers in North America improvised by hollowing out pumpkins, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then roasting the gourds whole in hot ashes.