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The Great Pumpkin Pie Debate

If you picture a Thanksgiving spread, complete with all the staples of the season, you almost certainly envision a beautiful, orange pumpkin pie somewhere amongst the turkey, potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

Since pumpkins and other squashes are native to North America, pumpkin pie has long been a treat in this part of the world -- mentions of pumpkin pie in Canada date as far back as 1855! In the words of The Canadian Settler’s Guide, “A finer dish than a good pumpkin-pie can hardly be eaten”. Even 166 years later, I concur!

Personally, I was raised with tinned pumpkin pie filling – it’s easy and delicious, what’s not to like?

For others, they insist that “the real thing” is superior. So let’s put it to the test…

Enter the People’s Home Library.

The 1913 Edition of the People's Home Library

The People's Home Library is a set of “three practical books”, one of which is a cookbook. Our edition, from 1913, would have been a fantastic resource for any County resident, providing all kinds of advice for households, ranging from veterinary information to properly setting a dinner table.

For one half of my test, I used Ed Smith Pumpkin Pie Filling. For the other, I referred to The People's Home Library's Plain Pastry and Pumpkin Pie recipes (below).



The Verdict?

Surprisingly, all the Strathma staff easily reached a consensus on which pie was best.

The pie from the People’s Home Library boasted a more subtle, balanced flavour profile. Surprisingly, the bold iconic “pumpkin spice” flavour we are so used to in autumn treats today was not included in this recipe. I suppose the Settler’s Guide was right when it wrote that, “ginger and cinnamon are preferable to any other spice” in a good old-fashioned pumpkin pie.

Even though we all preferred the homemade pie, I personally won’t be turning my back on my tinned pie filling. There’s something to be said for the simplicity of opening up a tin, rather than steaming, mashing, and preparing a whole squash. I can see why homemakers through time have opted for the more convenient method of making pumpkin pie.

Plus, both homemade and tinned pies tasted equally delicious when topped with a healthy dollop of whipped cream!

What is your favourite way to enjoy a pumpkin pie?

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