By Danielle Prostrollo
In preparation for the Thanksgiving talk happening in the library on 20 November, I have been sifting through recipes and childhood memories of pies, cakes, and all manner of autumnal desserts. For the event, American Scholar Don Allen is going to give a short talk about the cultural significance of Thanksgiving, and a quick history lesson about the relevance of the holiday in America. My role is to whip up some timely and traditional desserts.
The afternoon will include pumpkin and sweet potato pies, a gingerbread quick bread, and candied pecans. Pumpkin pie, unarguably the star of the Thanksgiving dessert table. A cup of coffee and a slice of pie, with a dollop of whipped cream on top, is a standard method of winding down after the big feast. Sweet potato pie is very similar, both in preparation and in some ways in flavor, but definitely a more retro option. For both of these bakes you can find endless advice online about the best pie crust, whether or not to use fresh or canned for the filling, and so much more. The afternoon’s pies will be baked with consideration of many sources and a little bit of home knowledge!
A gingerbread quick bread sounds strange, but this quick bread is more like a cake. There is no yeast, so it rises up with a cake-like consistency and is popular in America for making zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, and banana bread. This gingerbread variety will hopefully help set people into an autumnal mood.
And lastly, the candied pecans come into the picture as a play on the pecan pie. For anyone who may prefer something a bit lighter than cakes and pies there will be candied pecans available with your coffee and tea. Pecan pie is a popular dish across America and certainly so in the South where pecan trees are plentiful.
If you would like to explore some of these American desserts (and many, many others) here are a few books you can find at the Memorial Library: