Fall strikes up such wonderful memories for me, and most of them have to do with fall harvest and food! Oh, how I love the smell of apples baking! There’s absolutely thing to compare to homemade applesauce with a dash of cinnamon……..except Grandmom’s pumpkin pies made from scratch.
Growing up, I had no idea that pumpkin pies could be made from anything except fresh pumpkin. And, I have to tell you that when tasting the difference between fresh pumpkin and canned, I’ll take the fresh pumpkin over canned a hundred to one!
There’s something else about this pumpkin pie thing, though. I don’t think it’s just the recipe that makes the pies so good. I believe that a large part of my longing for homemade pumpkin pies has to do with remembering my Grandmother.
Grandmom was a plain lady – no frills or thrills about her. She was my mother’s mom, of German descent, and she was poorer than a church mouse, but also the richest woman I ever met! She had “wealth of spirit”, not physical treasure. She was always content with what she had. In fact, one of her well-known phrases was, “This is like Christmas in July!” She graciously and thankfully accepted hand-me-downs of any kind, and would literally give you the very shirt off of her back.
Grandmom lived in a little old house in the woods in New Gretna, New Jersey. She had pine trees in her side yard, a grape arbor out back, a flowerbed by her front steps, and a cranberry bog in the woods behind her house. I don’t think she ever owned a new piece of furniture in her 96 years of living on this earth. “Stuff” didn’t matter to her. What mattered to her was her loved and dedication to God and her total trust in God.
Grandmom lived as a widow without complaint for over 40 years. She lived to bury 2 of her 3 children and saw 3 of her 8 grandchildren buried – one of them being my 13-year-old sister. Never during all of that grief and pain did I see her faith falter, and to this day I marvel at her quiet, yet tenacious, faith in God. I honestly don’t know how she remained so strong in her faith!
She loved all people – rich, poor, strong, weak, Christian or non. She house strangers passing through and did not lose her faith in humankind when she was gagged, tied in a chair, and robbed of her only savings — $100 hidden underneath her mattress. The robbers, who had fully intended to kill her, untied her and fled. I think she shook them up to the point of no return when she offered to fix them dinner, as they were about to rob her. Even in this situation she wanted to give!
Grandmom always said grace before each meal, and she opened and closed every day with a bible reading, memorization of one Scripture verse, and the writing of her list of blessings for the day.
When I think of fall and pumpkins and pumpkin pies, I think of my Grandmother and I miss her so much! As I bake my pies this eyar, I will she a few salty tears, I’m sure. Not tears of sadness as much as tears of joy and remembrance of the dearest lady I’m ever known. Grandmom, I sure do love and miss you!
PS If you care to have my Grandmother’s own pumpkin pie recipe, let me know. I’ll gladly share, but you have to promise to bake your pies with lots and lots of love!