Interviewer: “What about the Thanksgiving tradition with pumpkin pie?”
Informant: “So the ingredients in pumpkin pie are largely consistent. Um, most pumpkin pies contain eggs and cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger and salt and pie crust. What you generally do is whisk it all together and bake it. Our family does not bake it at all, we instead use egg whites and all the same ingredients as well as the most important ingredient which is gelatin, which is used to make jello in many recipes. Also, we do not heat it up and it is served cold.”
The recipe for this pumpkin pie has been handed down for generations for use during Thanksgiving. It is important because it is the family’s signature Thanksgiving dish and pays homage to the ancestors who originated the tradition.
The informant (my mother) and I discussed this tradition at our home kitchen table, but the recipe itself is only used during Thanksgiving.
Although normal pumpkin pie is a very common Thanksgiving tradition, this cold gelatinous variant introduces the family’s personal twist on the traditional recipe. Because of this unique identifier, participation in the tradition brings one closer to the heritage of the family and also provides a family bonding activity in the form of cooking the pies the day before Thanksgiving.