“As American as apple pie.”
Like baseball, we from the U.S. claim apple pie as our invention and part of our heritage.
Hold on a sec.
Just how American is apple pie?
Apples originated in the area now known as Turkey and that’s a long, long way from America. They were brought to North America from Europe. According to Whatscookingamerica.net, apple tarts showed up in a cookbook during the reign of King Richard II of England, long before Johnny Appleseed was planting trees in Pennsylvania.
But pumpkin pie? Now that’s about as American as you can get.
Pumpkins–the kind we make jack-o-lanterns and pies out of–are the descendants of squash ancestors that originated in the Americas. Squash is one part of the trio known in traditional Native American agriculture as The Three Sisters . The Three Sisters are corn, beans, and squash. Vegetarians claim that these three together provide all the components needed for a complete diet. (I once subscribed to this theory; however, the fact is that the Native Americans were hunters even after they became farmers. Another fact is, beans and cornbread with a side of fried squash is simply delicious for an early summer dinner–especially with a slice of home-grown tomato.)
So here I am in Mexico (part of North America, in case we forget) getting ready to bake pumpkin pies for our early Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.
I bought the pumpkins at Soriana, the Mexican equivalent of WalMart. (They were imported from Texas.) I brought them home and cut one into three pieces and baked it.
Well, ok, first I had to get them up the stairs.
The UBER driver got them out of the car and brought them to the door for me. I held out my arms. He said, “Puedes?” I said, “Yes, I can!” like an idiot, the Spanish evaporating from my brain. I put them down on the stairs while I gathered the rest of the shopping bags and hauled them up. Then I brought the pumpkins up (one at a time, not trusting myself not to drop if I tried to carry both) and put them on the table beside the bowl with hibiscus flowers (the are hibiscus, aren’t they?) I had, earlier, picked up off the sidewalk beneath the trees in front of our house.
I thought of taking pictures while I was scraping the pulp from the rind, but my hands were messy and then I forgot. But the one pumpkin yielded enough pulp for three pies.
That was Saturday. On Tuesday, I went to HEB to find pie pans (because the Mexican walmart didn’t have any) and canned milk. SCORE! All I needed now was a container for transporting the pies to our host’s home.
And here I am Friday night, with no mixing bowl, no pastry blender, and no rolling pin.
What was I thinking?
To be continued