Being an incurable sweet-tooth, the thing that always caught my eye on the Thanksgiving table was pumpkin pie. Imagine that: pumpkin for dessert! (Yet another perfectly healthy vegetable corrupted by sugar! I like that concept a lot).
So this year, on the fourth Thursday in May (i.e. six months before ... or is it six months after Thanksgiving in the USA?) I decided to have a little antipodean Thanksgiving celebration - with pumpkin pie, naturally:
My pumpkin pie didn't look as pretty as the one in my cookbook, and it tasted disturbingly like hot cross buns. Not that there's anything wrong with hot cross buns, mind you - it's just that I expected something different. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been surprised. After all, hot cross buns and pumpkin pie are both, in essence, excuses for adding large amounts of sugar and spice to a starchy base.
My verdict? The pumpkin pie was very nice, and I'm pleased to have finally tried it. But I've decided I prefer my pumpkin roasted, or turned into soup or gnocchi. Mm-mmm.
Incidentally, this date strikes me as rather late in autumn for a harvest festival (which is what Thanksgiving traditionally is, or was). For example, our pumpkins were harvested (due to the onset of frosts) over a month ago. The Canadian date for Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October) seems to be more in alignment with the actual harvest period.
Aha! Now that I've spent 30 seconds Googling the history of Thanksgiving in the USA, I've learned (according to Mayflower History) that:
"The Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving began at some unknown date between September 21 and November 9, most likely in very early October. The date of Thanksgiving was probably set by Lincoln to somewhat correlate with the anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod, which occurred on November 21, 1620 (by our modern Gregorian calendar--it was November 11 to the Pilgrims who used the Julian calendar)."
Note to self: I must organise a fair dinkum harvest festival next year, possibly involving the consumption of home brew, by the light of the full moon ...