Most people associate the smell of roasting turkey with Thanksgiving, but for me the spicy aroma of my mother’s pumpkin pie is the dominant olfactory delight.
What it should have been: good ol' American pumpkin pie.
The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in this pie gives it a full flavor, and the use of whole milk makes for a wonderful creamy consistency.
As an adult, whether we’re having Thanksgiving dinner at our house or eating with friends or relatives, I always volunteer to make pumpkin pies—Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without them.
A few years ago when our family was going to spend Thanksgiving in Australia, a trip tied into Tom’s travel writing career with Lonely Planet, I offered to make pumpkin pies.
“Thanks, but we’re all set,” I was told by Maureen Wheeler, Lonely Planet's co-founder. “There’s a great baker here who has told me he can make American pumpkin pies. I’ve ordered both pumpkin and apple.”
Thanksgiving morning found us busy in the kitchen getting everything ready for the feast, where about 20 Americans would outnumber our Aussie hosts.
Maureen returned from the baker’s shop with the pies. I opened a pumpkin pie and was a bit surprised when I saw a top crust. Hmm, that’s odd. Then I smelled the pie and caught a distinct scent of onion.
We cut into it and discovered a perfectly lovely savory pot pie, with chunks of pumpkin, onion, potato, and carrots in gravy.
After our initial shock we decided the only thing to do was to offer it as a side dish with the turkey and run out for ice cream to make the apple pies go further!
Needless to say, as soon as we got home I baked a real pumpkin pie, using my mother’s recipe! Her nickname was Goosie, and I’m happy to share Goosie’s Pumpkin Pie.