The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

A family pie tradition

Making pies

Every fifteen years or so, Mom pulls a 1974 Good Housekeeping article out of her hat and makes me read it. I wish I could share the whole thing, but it's still under copyright, so I'll just sum it up with the title and subtitle:

"I Remember, I Remember": My 97-year-old mother tells about Thanksgiving when she was a girl --- cornmeal johnnycakes, five kinds of pie, turkey, goose and capon, blueberry flummer. And all the family home.

The story is written by my great-aunt Ruth Tirrell and tells about the feast her great-grandmother and great-aunts made for city relatives returning to the Rhode Island farm around 1885. And each time I read the story, I see something entirely different. This year's gem was the fact that the family relished potatoes, onions, turnips, and parsnips...but considered carrots only good enough to feed to cattle.

Cranberry raisin apple pies

I think I can probably sneak in another little quote about pies without being sued:

"The pies that kept well --- apple, mince and cranberry --- had been made --- all three dozen of them --- a month or so before and laid out on the attic floor. All the women pitched in now to make squash and blueberry pies...."

The family joining me tomorrow is much smaller than my great-great-great grandmother Mary Greene's massive clan. So I figure we'll get by with a 9x13 butternut pie and two deep-dish cranberry-apple-raisin pies. But I followed the family tradition of making dessert ahead to beat the rush. Pumpkin-type pies, especially, taste better on the second or third day!

(And thank you to my pie consultant, Joey, for deciding on the dessert menu.)

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hmm, pies on the attic floor. Sure hope they didn't have a rodent problem...
Comment by Julie Wed Nov 25 07:47:11 2015

In Eastern Europe corn (sweet corn) was always considered animal food.

My Mom could never bake a cake and have it come out right, but pies? Oh my! She was the pie lady! Apple, chocolate cream, and others, but for thanksgiving we clammared for chocolate cream pie! Once she was finishing up the pie and getting ready to put Ready Whip on it. She shook the can really hard and somehow pressed the side of the nozzle before turning the can upside down. Whoosh! Whipped cream on the ceiling!

Comment by naYan Wed Nov 25 14:34:35 2015

Love thse stories, Anna and that pie looks great. We alwys have pumpkin and apple nd if my mom is with us, pecan. And maybe chocolate and lemon. Spending Thanksgiving in the hospital might not be my favorite thing, but we will have good stories to tell about it next year. Funny about the carrots. Hubby Steve is doing all the animal chores while I am here, and tonight, the goaties seemed to be missing all the attention they usually get. After he left the pen to close up shop at the chicken coop, he turned to find one of tje goats had worked the door open amd folowed him, as if to say, wait, you have not given us our nightly ear rubs with dinner! Of course this means we have to beef up our goatpen latch too, now.

Comment by Deb Wed Nov 25 22:27:45 2015
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