The History of Pumpkin Pie

Though the crowning joy of many tables at a typical American Thanksgiving may be the turkey, the pie served at the end of the meal often steals the show. In 1796, Ms. Amelia Simmons may have been aware of this very fact. As the writer of America’s first cookbook, the American Cookery, Simmons created recipes “calculated for the improvement of the rising generation of Females in America.” She took classic food ideas from Britain and applied New World ingredients in substitution of the old, creating new recipes. Her new recipes included two foods that American’s would be very familiar with on this day:  a recipe for roast turkey (a bird of North America) that suggested stuffing the bird with bread and herbs and serving it with cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pudding baked in a crust. This last recipe is most likely the precursor of our modern pumpkin pie!


Today, even Harvard University Dining Halls have caught on the trend. In celebration of Thanksgiving, Dunster Dining Hall of Harvard College will be making a complete, traditional Thanksgiving meal for all students who were unable to travel home. And of course, included on the menu are roasted turkey and pumpkin pie.


By Taylor Reiter (Dunster House FLP)

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