For our Thanksgiving dinner I made a pecan pie and Dana’s Dog-gone Pumpkin Pie. My pecan pie totally upstaged the pumpkin,
so I brought it back home and made a pecan crunch topping for it.
Pecan Crunch Pumpkin Pie
- One pumpkin pie, cooked and cooled
- 1 cup pecan halves, chopped
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 4 tbsp melted butter
Preheat the grill or broiler. Mix the pecans, sugar and butter in a small bowl. Spoon the topping evenly over the pie. Brown the topping about 5-7 inches from the heat source for 3 minutes or until golden and the sugar dissolves. Be careful not to let it burn!
Cool on a wire rack and serve with lots of Chantilly cream.
I took it into work and it was very much appreciated by my British colleagues. I answered many of their questions about the historical, culinary and cultural aspects of American Thanksgiving.
Being an expat in the UK for the past 12 years, I often feel like a cultural ambassador. I am very conscious of the stereotype of the rude, loud, ego-centric American and try to counter that image whenever I can. Several years ago, when I was in furniture school in Scotland, I was at a Thanksgiving potluck dinner with several North American students, from the US and Canada. One of the Canadians talked about Canadian Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the second Monday in October. One of the Yanks said, “Canadian Thanksgiving?? What do you guys have to be thankful for?” A stunned silence fell and I quickly said, “That they’re not American”. I mean, really.
Whereas the American Thanksgiving tradition talks about remembering Pilgrims and settling in the New World, Canadians give thanks for a successful harvest. The geographical location of Canada is further north as compared to the United States therefore the harvest season falls earlier in Canada.
In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November. While not the first Thanksgiving of any sort on the continent, the traditional origin of modern Thanksgiving in the United States is generally regarded to have originated from the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in Massachusetts, in 1621. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the pilgrims who arrived in Massachusetts cultivate the land and fish, saving them from starvation. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this however, did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s’.
When we were in London, we watched ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ along with a bonus special feature: ‘The Mayflower Voyagers’. This bonus feature is an episode from ‘This is America, Charlie Brown’. It is actually a very good recount of the first hard winter endured by the pilgrims on Plymouth Plantation. My cousins liked it and I learned about the origins of my favourite holiday too!
Whatever country we are in, a Thanksgiving feast is an opportunity to come together and share food, good company and to give thanks to whatever it is we are grateful for.