(WYTV) — Why do we enjoy pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? Why pie, and not cake, cookies or other sweets?
When settlers arrived in Plymouth in 1620, Native American tribes brought pumpkins as gifts and taught them how to properly prepare them for stews.
But pies were not part of any feast with the Pilgrims and Native Americans — they didn’t have the butter and flour you need for a crust.
Jump forward to 1796, when a woman named Amelia Simmons published a cookbook titled American Cookery, considered the first American cookbook, and it has a recipe for pumpkin pudding made with nutmeg and served in a crust — we’re getting closer.
But pumpkin pie became tied to the Thanksgiving holiday thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale, called the “Godmother of Thanksgiving,” a widow with five children. In the early 19th century, she was a writer and magazine editor and she loved Thanksgivng.
The “Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America” tells us that Hale wrote every year for 17 years to presidents, members of Congress and the governor of every state and territory, asking them to proclaim Thanksgiving a national holiday. Abraham Lincoln eventually did in 1863.
Sarah Hale described the perfect Thanksgiving meal as complete with fried chicken, ham, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.