National Tie One On Day_Pumpkin Persuasion

    For this year’s Thanksgiving gathering, my assignment is desserts, of which one must, according to Thanksgiving law or something, be a pumpkin pie. PP is not my favorite pie, but to others, it’s not Thanksgiving without it. And since I’m in a crowd-pleasing mood, I’ll bake one.

    In searching for a recipe, I learned there is a jack o’lantern pumpkin and a pie pumpkin, and a “jack” does not a pie make.

    I also learned that baking a pumpkin pie wasn’t always a simple task. Back in the day, just processing the pumpkin was a job. In reading about a pumpkin’s preparation, I became curious as to whether this pie has been a consistent recipe of pumpkin, eggs, milk and spices over the years, or if in the last, say, 100 years, it’s experienced significant changes.

    From a selection of early cookbooks, I saw scant variation in the ingredients, nor in the chore of putting this pie together:

Cookbooks_array (Small)

1902  Woman’s Favorite Cook Book
“Pumpkin Pie (Like Mother Makes)”

1 qt milk, 3 cupfuls of boiled and strained pumpkin, one and one-half cupfuls brown sugar, one-half cupful molasses, the yolks and whites of 3 eggs beaten separately, a little salt, one level tablespoon each of ginger and cinnamon, salt to taste. Beat all together and bake with an undercrust; enough for three pies.

Pumpkin Pie 1904  Gold Medal Cook Book

One cup stewed and sifted pumpkin, one level teaspoon salt, one saltspoon mace, one teaspoon cinnamon, two-thirds cup sugar, one beaten egg well mixed together, pour over one cup each of cream and milk boiling hot, fill the plate and set into oven as quickly as possible; if pumpkin is watery add one teaspoon flour. It is done when it rises well in the middle. A rim of puff paste can be laid around the edge of the plate if liked, if used it should be at least one inch wide and the edge that goes down into the pumpkin rolled very thin.

Pumpkin Pie 1915  Things to Eat

4 Tablespoons pumpkin, 1 pint cream (or milk with piece of butter size of walnut), 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1 tablespoon flour, 3 eggs well beaten add last. Will make 3 pies.

Pumpkin Pie 1929 The Modern Home-Maker
2 cups stewed and strained pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon mace, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tablespoon flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup milk. Line a buttered pie plate with pastry. Beat eggs, add to milk and pumpkin. Add sugar, flour, salt and spices and mix thoroughly. Pour into lined pie plate and bake in a hot oven until a golden brown color.
     Finally! Canned pumpkin makes its way into our collective pantries and Good Housekeeping bestows its approval on a pumpkin pie recipe that no longer required the hours nor mess of stewing, straining and mashing. 
Pumpkin Pie 1930 MEALS Tested, Tasted
and Approved – GH Institute
2 cups pumpkin, 3 eggs separated, 1 cupful brown sugar, 1/34 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 3 cupfuls scalded milk.  To cooked or canned pumpkin, add egg-yolks, sugar, salt and spices, and mix thoroughly. Add scalded milk and fold in stiffly beaten egg-whites. Pour into a pie plate lined with pastry and bake. Makes 2 medium or 1 large and 1 small pie. To serve, cool the pie slightly and arrange small mounds of unsweetened whipped cream, 1 in the center of each individual piece of pie. Drop 1 tsp honey in the center of each mound of cream and serve at once.
     All I have to say is thank goodness for canned pumpkin. But I wondered, are all canned pumpkin products the same, or is there one canned pumpkin and recipe that stands out?  Seems there is!
    According to my new apron friend, 91-year-old Pillsbury Bakeoff veteran Joan Vanburen of Willmar, MN, Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe is “…easy to make and comes out good for anyone.”  And in this Joan 

Libby's pumpkin can (Small)

is in agreement with Beth Howard, proprietress of The World Needs More Pie website, whose only alteration to the recipe is eliminating the call for cinnamon as a personal taste preference. And in that, I am in total agreement.
National Tie One On Day™ Goodie Giveaway!

To encourage your putting the “give” back into Thanksgiving and adding National Tie One On Day™ (…an apron, of course!) to your holiday tradition, a dedicated group of sponsors are putting some fabulous “give” into the NTOODay 2011 Goodie Giveaway!

To enter, click HERE

The National Tie One On Day Goodie Giveaway sponsors are generously providing an array of giveaways, which I’m highlighting throughout the NTOODay™ campaign.

  • Beth M. Howard From her home in Eldon, Iowa, where she is the proud resident of the famous American Gothic House, Beth sells pie to tourists from her pitchfork pie stand and teaches pie making classes. Pie is meant for sharing. Pie connects people. Pie is the perfect partner to National Tie One On Day. Beth’s goodie is an adorable tee, style choice by the winners.

Picnik collage 

  • Bernina ‘s Swiss precision is at the heart of every product they make. Known for Quality, Innovation and Design with innovative features that make sewing easier, BERNINA lets you focus on your project―and not the machine. BERNINA’s nationwide network of fully trained independent dealerships provides the highest standard of service, beginning with free guide classes after purchase. Bernina’s giveaway is the world’s first ‘Lady’s Knife’, a complete sewing tool in smart pocketknife form, specially designed for women!
  • Dubbed the Swiss Sewessential, this ultimate sewing accessory consists of 17 superbly crafted individual tools, including a special rotary knife, awl and hem-measure. Incredible? Yes! Fabulous? Even more so!

BERNINA Sew Essential Lady Knife Giveaway 2011
  • Heavenly Hostess by Cynthia Waddell, is a line dedicated to upscale aprons and kitchen linens. All Heavenly Hostess products, including beautiful vintage inspired hostess aprons, retro inspired cocktail aprons and vintage inspired halter aprons, are designed and manufactured in Sunny California.
  • Heavenly Hostess is providing two winners the new Cupcake Cutie reversible halter apron, which Cynthia describes as, “So sweet and perfect for holiday baking and entertaining, Cupcake Cutie is fully reversible and made of fine 100% cotton.”

Heavenly Hostess 2011 CupcakeCutie
  • MikWright is a nationally known greeting card company founded in 1991 by friends Phyllis Wright-Herman and Tim Mikkelsen. You know their brand – they were the first to incorporate vintage snapshots with sharp-witted humor.  MikWright is carried in over 2000 retail outlets and has licensed products with Andrews McMeel Publishing, Design Design, Luckie-Street and High Cotton. When MikWright “ties one on,” it usually involves vodka and olives. Accordingly, MikWright is a proud sponsor and supporter of “National Tie One on Day™. For two lucky winners, two bountiful gift boxes of MikWright goods.

  • HARALEE® is a Portland, Oregon, based company that designs, manufactures, and markets moisture wicking
    sleepwear for women. Haralee’s Cool Garments for Hot Women are ideal for the woman experiencing night sweats due to menopause, breast cancer, medications or high internal thermostat. Owner Haralee Weintraub is a breast cancer survivor; she donates a portion of her company’s sales to breast cancer research. Haralee is generously providing two gift certificates toward “cool” purchases. 

Thank you to all who are spreading the word of National Tie One On Day, for the more who participate, the more who receive.


A Slice of Life

The old cookbooks, like this one from 1941, were close to 900 pages, with chapters covering a range of domestic concerns, like Menu Making, Table Setting, Carving, Spices and Useful Facts about Food. The American Woman cookbook cover 1931_mixer and homemaker

The heft was also attributable to the photographic illustrations. In this cookbook, a List of Illustrations three pages in length is provided at the front. It was while flipping through the illustrations that I came upon this display

A Kitchen Collection to Gladden the Heart of the Most Ardent Gadgeteer

Gagets and gageteer 1941 Am Womans Ckbk [640x480]

Gadgeteer! How fabulously descriptive. Most of the gadgets were familiar; of some, I’m clueless.

I do not lack for gadgets. I’m especially attracted to those with colored handles.

Gadgeteer_3 items [640x480]

These pie crust rollers are among my favorite utilities.

Gadgeteer_pie trimmers faceup [640x480]

On the backside of the green handled one, you can see the company, Vaughn’s, and the descriptive name: Pie Trimmer and Sealer, circa 1930s-40s.

Gadgeteer_piecrust trimmer Vaughn [640x480]

Looking at the pie tools led me to think about pies, and the purity of the recipes of 1941. A pie was made from scratch, and that included the sifting of flour.

These Sifting Sisters from the Fifties have a tiered interior, which sent the flour through a series of three screens and produced ultra fine flour. Sifting seems more fun with a gadget so well designed and adorably adorned.

Sifter Sisters both 1 [640x480]

Baking a pie is a messy production, and domestic armor is a must. My new friend knows this. Meet Beth Howard of The World Needs More Pie.

Beth Howard_wearing Kaen [640x480]

This photo was taken in Beth’s kitchen – can’t you just hear that screen door slamming as Beth shuttles pies down to her roadside stand. Beth lives in Iowa in the American Gothic home. Her journey from LA to this new life through the conduit of pie is chronicled in a book that publishes next spring. Meantime, do visit her website and welcome her to the Apron-Hood.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Leftover Night a Vintage Speciality

I was recently browsing an antique mall, and in a nearby stall overheard a woman recite to her friend this proverb: Our grandmothers used it. Our mothers threw it away. And now we’re buying it back. Looking at my shopping tote a-bulge with vintage castoffs once belonging to someone else and soon to take up residence in my life, I shook my head at the truth in the old saying.

Home and unpacking my purchases, I again admired the vintage cookbooks, little girl cookie cutters with red knobs, assorted child-size cookware, hot pads sewn of fabrics from earlier decades, and an addition to my metal container collection: a red recipe box.

Of late, I’ve been utilizing the old metal containers as decorative storage for office and stationery supplies, business cards, black and white photos featuring aprons (of course!) and so on. Looking at the containers as I sit at the computer makes me happy, which is reason enough to buy one now and again.

Consistent with the saying is also the truism that we’re paying a lot more for that “old something” than our grandmothers’ paid for the same item. Just how much is too much is the question I always mull, but in the case of the red metal box, not for more than a blink. It called to me (we all know what that means), and at $8.00, I actually dubbed it the “b” word – a bargain.

You can’t imagine my surprise when I turned to this page in the April issue of Country Living-

According to CL’s antiques specialist, my red box is from the 1940s, “when designs became a bit fanciful…” The specialist noted that in today’s nostalgia-driven market, such red metal boxes are desirable and sell in the $20 range (!). Value increases with the presence of original dividers, household hints and handwritten recipes.

Dividers? Recipes? Well, strike up the band!

The box included a cache of recipes, each titled and typed out front and back on index cards. On one side of this card is the recipe for Chicken Chowder (step one: Cook a large fat hen in pressure cooker until tender.), and typed on the other – Saturday Night Special.

“Special” has long been the designation to the week’s final supper – a one-pot hodgepodge of leftovers.

From a 1949 Woman’s Day, a homemaker declares her love of smidgens of vegetables, plops of potatoes, spoonfuls of rice and cubed meats when reheated in a sauce made piquant with 3 tablespoons French’s mustard.

In 1942, Leftovers were considered so integral to cookbooks, the category was a separate chapter.

Leftover cereal? “When you have leftover cooked cereal, turn it into a glass, chill well, slice, saute to a golden brown as in Fried Mush, p. 156, and serve hot with butter, molasses, honey, syrup or jelly … or serve instead of potatoes with sausage, bacon, etc., for luncheon.” What mileage from

such humble food stuffs.

My red metal box may be of some monetary value, but to me, it’s true worth is in the recipe cards, which are like little windows into the lives of women of earlier generations…who were geniuses when it came to turning a little into something special.

Saturday Night Special

1 lb. ground beef
1 can pork & beans (1 lb 7 oz. size)
1 no. 303 can tomatoes (drained)
1 tsp. salt
1 large onion thinly sliced
2 slices bacon
1/4 c. brown sugar
Brown meat in hot skillet with no added fat.
Then add the beans, tomatoes & salt. Pour half of mixture in a baking dish. Add layer of onions and top with remaining mixture. Top with strips of bacon. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in moderate oven 350 degrees 1 hr.
Can be cooked in a skillet on top of stove.

Tie One On…an apron, of course!