Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkinless Pie.

It is impossible to avoid Thanksgiving, even if one lives on the other side of the world, in a country which does not celebrate the day. Every food corner of cyberspace is stuffed with remarks and advice and recipes for the occasion, so that every non-USA corner of the world lives through Thanksgiving vicariously – which may or may not be a bad thing.

In previous years on this blog I have attempted to assist, inspire, or amuse my American friends with Thanksgiving food stories (see the links below), and today is no exception. Today, for those of you who don’t care for pumpkin pie (don’t they take your citizenship away for that?), or are tired of it after using up your Halloween lantern innards - I give you Pumpkinless Pie, and remind you of Gingerless Gingerbread.

Our story begins with a short article in The New York Times in November, 1917:

Camouflage pumpkin pie has made a big hit with the men on an American naval vessel, according to an announcement made today by the National Emergency Food Garden Commission, which has its headquarters in Washington. It appears that in an effort to help food conservation, Mrs. G.M. King of 241 William Street, East Orange, N.J sent to the commission her pumpkinless pie recipe. The commission gave it to the crews, and among those who read it was Paul R. Wallace, a second-class baker on a vessel in the Navy. Wallace wrote Mrs. King this letter:

My Dear Mrs. King:
After having tried your recipe for pumkinless pie which was very much published in the papers, I would be very much pleased and appreciate very much if you could give me a recipe fore gingerless gingerbread, I am a baker in the United States Navy, and tried your recipe on 500 pie-hungry men of Uncle Sam’s Navy. The only kick they had to make was there was not enough. Ray Eaton, who is head baker on this ship and myself are specializing on economy  in the navy during these hard times, as are the folks at home, and the reason I ask you for this gingerless gingerbread is this: Some time ago we were asked to make gingerbread “without” molasses, ginger, spices, and butter, so Eaton and I thought you might have some sort of camouflage that would help us out. Very truly yours,
Paul R. Wallace, U.S.S. ___

Mrs .Wallace did indeed come up with the requested recipe, which has been in the GingerbreadArchive for some time, but never had its own post. I repeat it here, and follow it with her recipe for the pumpkinless pie.

Pumpkinless Pie.
Scald one quart milk: add scant cup of Indian meal and a little salt. When cold add two eggs, cinnamon and ginger to taste, sweeten with brown sugar. Put a little cream or milk on top and bake.

Gingerless Gingerbread.
Dissolve two cups of brown sugar in a little black coffee and add one dessertspoonful of soda. Add four tablespoons of nut oleomargarine, two tablespoons of lard, a little salt, then one scant cup of hot black coffee, and last, but not least, pepper to taste. Take one cup of graham and three cups of wheat flour and roll it out about one inch thick.

It seems to me that the Navy should have offered Mrs Wallace some sort of civilian medal for her service to the war effort.

Some Previous Thanksgiving Stories.
Thanksgiving Food: Succotash.
Thanksgiving Food: Mock Turkey. 

Quotation for the Day.

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?
Erma Bombeck.

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