Mimi MatthewsMimi Matthews

Mrs. Ellis's Pumpkin Pie: A 19th Century Thanksgiving Recipe

Home To Thanksgiving, published by Currier and Ives, 1867.

Home To Thanksgiving, published by Currier and Ives, 1867.

Thursday November 26th is Thanksgiving here in the United States.  Originally a commemoration of the First Thanksgiving (a 17th century feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans), it is now one of the major holidays and, for many of us, the official start of the Christmas season.  There was no Black Friday or Cyber Monday during the 19th century.  Instead, the Thanksgiving holidays were a time for family to gather together from near and far and share a holiday meal.  This usually involved the women of the family cooking a Thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey and all the fixings.  Amongst these fixings was one of the most traditional Thanksgiving desserts: pumpkin pie.

Naturally, a British lady like Mrs. Beeton did not include a recipe for pumpkin pie in her famous Book of Household Management.  Here in America, however, we had plenty of cookery guides which offered up their version of the holiday classic.  Below is an 1843 recipe for pumpkin pie from Mrs. Ellis’s Housekeeping Made Easy.  You will note that, unlike Mrs. Beeton, this recipe does not start with the measurements and the suggested cooking times.  Nevertheless, if you would like to add some authentic 19th century cooking to your Thanksgiving feast, I encourage you to give it a try.

Mrs. Ellis's Housekeeping, Pumpkin Pie Recipe, 1843.

Mrs. Ellis’s Housekeeping, Pumpkin Pie Recipe, 1843.

I will be taking off a few days to spend the holiday with my family and, as a result there will be no Animals in Literature and History post this week.  I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving holiday with your own families and anyone else you hold dear (human or animal!).


Sources

Ellis, Sarah Stickney.  Mrs. Ellis’s Housekeeping Made Easy.  New York: Burgess and Stringer, 1843.

About Mimi Matthews

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library JournalPublishers Weekly, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.

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