Thursday, November 17, 2011

First Things First...and that would be Thanksgiving

Why do we love both Thanksgiving and Christmas? Both holidays are about giving, receiving, and being thankful. Right?
So why don't we take time to savor them one at a time? Stores are geared up for Christmas, and we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. I'm tired already. But it happens every year.

We walked into WalMart Wednesday, and right there in the wide walkway between McDonald's on the left and the beginning of the checkers' stations on the right was a gigantic display of pumpkin pies--almost as tall as I. I suppose this is because the bakery is next to McDonald's--close to the front entrance. The pies were on a three-tiered temporary structure, and I hoped no one bumped the corner, because all those cardboard props would not hold up, and WalMart would have about fifty pies on the floor.

We got a cart but had to skirt all those pumpkin pies, to the right or to the left. The pie display took up more room than was left for shoppers to pass by. They were almost daring me to walk past without picking one up. Not to denigrate WalMart--I actually call it Utopia--but the pies did not look appetizing. First, they were in aluminum pie plates. Do not serve a pumpkin pie in such a dish. Very tacky. Second, the pies were dark and thin and had depressions in the middle. Ewww. Not the kind of pumpkin pie I like.
Keep reading to the end, and I'll tell you how to make a gourmet pumpkin pie.
When we did successfully maneuver around the display, we almost ran into a decorated Christmas tree! All the fruit and vegetable bins had Christmas trims around the edges, too. Don't they realize that shoppers might be completely befuddled? I was, I can assure you. Orange vs. Red. Pies vs. Candy. Turkey vs. Ham. Stuffing vs. Potatoes.

Celia's Pumpkin Pie--baked and served in a heavy white ceramic fluted 9" pie plate:
Line the plate with Pillsbury refrigerated unbaked pie dough. This comes two rolls to a box in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. Don't use a store brand. Be sure to flute the edges as artistically as you can.

Beat together with an electric mixer:
1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
One 15 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup of hot water--not boiling...just very hot.
Pour into pastry-lined pie pan.
Bake at 375 degrees
Time: 50-55 minutes  
To serve: top with a dollop of real whipped cream sweetened with a little sugar.

Disclaimer:  This recipe is from a 1956 Second Edition of a hardback ringbinder Betty Crocker Cookbook, held together now with duct tape and hole reinforcements.


Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas           


  1. You can't beat the old cookbook recipes, Celia! I have never, ever tasted pumpkin pie but I would love to, it sounds so nice. We can't get get canned pumpkin in the UK, or at least, I have never seen it, so what would I do to a fresh pumpkin to get it ready for the pie?? I would love to know!
    By the way - I saw a fully-lit Christmas tree AND a house window full of flasing ornaments today. World gone mad. ;-)

    Jane x

  2. Jane--if you scrape the inside of a pumpkin free of all that white junk, then chop the "meat"--try to remove the outside--don't know if that's a "peeling" or not. But if you can get this far, then all you have to do is cook it as you would potatoes--drain and mash. You need a cup and a half. In metric...mmmm...forgot my metric system, again.

  3. Celia, I have that cookbook and that's the recipe I use for my pies!! Yum. I am so anxious for Thanksgiving to get here. Good pumpkin pie is addictive.

    Carol Ann

  4. Yummy, Celia! I love pumpkin pie! I also have favorite pumpkin pie recipe made with sweetened condensed milk, but mine has a streusel topping : )

  5. Jane, you can use yellow squash in place of pumpkin. Just cut the squash in half, steam it, scrape the meat out and push through a sieve (or use food processor). Yummy. If you can get a pumpkin, the same thing works.

    Celia, I use that same recipe (sorta). No other cookbook can touch that one. And it tells you how to do everything step by step. Too bad they're impossible to find now.

    On the pie crust, I can't eat wheat so no ready-made crusts for me (boo hoo). I make pie crust with spelt flour and butter. Deeee-lish! Certainly not diet food, though.

    About holidays one at a time...When we went to buy Halloween costumes on Oct. 27, most of the Halloween stuff was gone and the holiday aisles were loaded with Christmas mdse. Irritates me to no end. Actually, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and it usually gets short shrift.

  6. Celia - I'll do that!

    Jacquie - I love squash too so might try that. Son can't eat wheat either, in fact no gluten at all, but I have a ready-made gluten-free pastry in the freezer saying 'turn me into pumpkin pie NOW!'

    Thanks ladies! :)

    Jane x

  7. I'm laughing because my Betty Crocker cookbook is also held together with tape. Some pages are so stained with who-knows-what that it's like decoding hieroglyphics -- but its my fav cookbook. If I need to cook for a crowd, those recipes are tried and true.

    Yum on the punkin pie recipe. I also use the same pie crusts and a thick dish - great minds on the same airplane!


  8. Carol Ann--really? I had no idea that anyone in the world still had that old cookbook. It is a real treasure.
    Remember the brocolli-rice casserole from the 50's? It's in there. When I get a little nostalgic, I make that dish.

  9. Virginia--I'd like to try one with a struesal topping. Unfortunately, my dh doesn't care for pumpkin pie, even though mine is so good. I end up eating most of it, telling myself--it's a vegetable! Sort of like the pizza in school they're arguing about.

  10. Jacquie--I know. This Second Edition is either very rare or out of print. It has some wonderful "hints for the homemaker" I'm going to post one day. They are hysterically funny now.

  11. Maggie--that's the sign of a good cookbook--if it's filthy! Mine is, too...but these days, I rarely use a recipe for anything. I just make lots of pasta dishes, and Mexican stuff.

  12. I have the Betty Crocker Cookbook from 1970 which I received as a wedding present--thank goodness because I knew zip about cooking. I was legendary (and not in a good way) in home ec. in high school. I have that pumpkin pie recipe and I love it. My mother bought my sister and I McCall's Cookbooks in the early 70's. Both cookbooks have served me well.

  13. I have that Betty Crocker book, too, Celia. It is falling apart, but I just treat it kindly and appreciate the years of service it's given me.

    I am not a shopper so make little if any trips to Walmart at this time of the year. Had to go and pick up sweats for my physical therapy the other day and was amazed because I did not see those stacks of pies at our store. How sad!! NOT

    Hoping you have a wonderful Thanksgiving supper with your family. I finally learned how to prepare a pecan pie so if I make a pie this year, I will probably try that one.

    Hugs to you!

  14. SARAH--I agree. It has all the old good recipes...especially my 1958 edition. It's priceless, really. I think brides today get those fancy colorful coffee table-like cookbooks from...what's that cooking place in all the malls? The one with all kinds of vinegars?
    Thanks for chiming in, Sarah. P.S. your post is ready and will be up at the crack of dawn in the morning.

  15. PAISLEY--I guess we're a pumpking pie loving community.
    I always make a pecan pie at Thanksgiving for my husband. But this year, my order of 7 1 lb bags of fresh pecans from the East Texas Orchards have not arrived. So...he'll have to wait. I refuse to use store-bought pecans!

  16. Celia, I agree - there's nothing like homemade receipes from scratch.

    We're making pierogi's from scratch and my famous New England clam chowder. To give the "bird" a more personal touch, I'm brining it. I also make a pretty mean fennel stuffing.

    For me, nothing embodies Thanksgiving and the holidays by allotting the time and then spending it cooking in the kitchen with your kids and family. It's really awesome family bonding time that our modern society has gotten away from.

    Never did care for pumpkin pie, but my MIL, who is generally not a bigger cooker makes a MEAN pumpkin cheesecake pie that I'll eat down to the plate. Other than that, I prefer a blueberry pie after my thanksgiving feast. LOL!!

    Thanks so much for reminding us it's important for us to touch bases with Thanksgiving and the reason behind our season of giving thanks.


  17. I've never made a pumpkin pie before. I might actually try this!

    And I am seeing Christmas trees in windows, too.

    The outside lights, I can see, while the weather is good, who wants to be putting up lights in snow, but trees in the window? Must be for family coming to visit for Thanksgiving and that's the only time they will be together???

  18. Steph--your Thanksgiving dinner sounds like a foreign language! So many different foods I never eat or cook, nor do I know what all of them are!
    My daddy didn't care for the usual Thanksgiving dinner my mother always prepared. He didn't like sweet, so cranberry sauce and five-cup salad didn't please him. He asked every year if he could grill steaks or make barbecue with beans. I don't think he ever got to do that. That rest of us love all that stuff.
    Have a wonderful time with your family and bless you.

  19. Liana--everyone has something they love. I don't put up a tree any more because none of us travel on holidays--thus we are always alone. But I love to drive through town and the neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights on houses. So pretty...I just love is.
    Hope you have a wonderful time, and blessing to you and those you love.