November 21, 2007 Thanksgiving means pumpkin pie in our family. I will be 'driving Miss Daisy' to Alan and Pauline's and families with two pumpkin pies. I took holiday spices for granted until I read a newspaper story on them. They make quite a trip to get to our spice cabinets or drawers.
The newspaper story said that the age-old search for sweet spices and pepper is what opened trade routes and started border wars in ancient times.
The most commonly used cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum cassia trees of China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Ginger is grown widely in tropical climates. Fresh gingerroot is now familiar and popular and the humbler warmth of ground ginger gets overlooked. Crystalized ginger is fresh ginger that has been candied and rolled in sugar. Yummy! This was a new one to me.
The tree from which we get both mace and nutmeg produces the nutmeg fruit. Inside is a lacy coating of mace that covers a seed shell that, in turn, covers the nutmeg seed. Their flavors are similar, although nutmeg is sweeter. The favorite flavoring vanilla is a gift to us from ancient Mexico and has become popular as a room fragrance. It is a spice from a long brown 'bean' stick filled with tiny pods. Look for the label 'pure vanilla extract,' otherwise you are buying a synthetic liquid mixture.
I think I have probably shared my Pumpkin Pie Recipe with you before but, in case you missed it I will repeat it.
1 large can pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup milk
1 cup egg nog
2 tablespoons molasses
Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce to 375 for 30 minutes. Makes 2 pies.
Have a GREAT Thanksgiving, not forgetting to be thankful for things we take for granted and for our wonderful families.
Gertie is an Almont native and historian. She has been writing a local column for us for over 30 years. You'll enjoy her friendly and colorful style of writing.