Who will speak on behalf of the pumpkin during this Thanksgiving? Is it not enough that his dignity is squashed every Halloween as he is gutted and carved into buffoonish jack-o'-lanterns? Or that at the start of every autumn, hordes of these noble gourds become grist for the corporate pumpkin spice mills that churn out the ubiquitous orange dust used to fill our lattes and infuse our candles? "The spice must flow," they insist. And now, pumpkin pie is to be the default dessert for our holiday meals. We are asking for too much sacrifice from the pumpkin. In these desperate times, why not try a desperation pie instead?
Back in the 18th century, when pioneer pantries where not as amply supplied as today, the go-to desserts during lean times were called "desperation pies", the most notorious of which was the vinegar pie. The vinegar supplied tartness to the dessert when no fruits were available.
So how do you make it? A quick internet search gives links to several cheery baking bloggers discussing how they revived this long-lost family recipe and what techniques they used to mask the vinegary vibe of the key ingredient. Now, some people may wonder why you would add vinegar to the pie if the goal is to hide its flavor, or why were all of these recipes lost if they were so delicious? Well, those are very good questions that I am not at liberty to respond to at this moment.
Anyway, this Thanksgiving help preserve the pumpkin and America's culinary heritage by giving a vinegar pie a try.
Ah, the aroma of acetic acid.