Thursday, November 26, 2009

this ghost of the school-boy pie

"Cattle are very fond of pumpkins; it is pleasant to see what a feast the honest creatures make of them in the barn-yard; they evidently consider them a great dainty, far superior to common provender. But in this part of the world, not only the cattle, but men, women, and children — we all eat pumpkins. Yesterday, the first pumpkin-pie of the season made its appearance on table. It seems rather strange, at a first glance, that in a country where apples, and plums, and peaches, and cranberries abound, the pumpkin should be held in high favor for pies. But this is a taste which may probably be traced back to the early colonists; the first housewives of New England found no apples or quinces in the wilderness; but pumpkins may have been raised the first summer after they landed at Plymouth. At any rate, we know that they were soon turned to account in this way. The old Hollander, Van der Donck, in his account of the New Netherlands, published in 1656, mentions the pumpkin as being held in high favor in New Amsterdam, and adds, that the English colonists — meaning those of New England — "use it also for pastry."
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"What bread-and-milk, what rice-puddings, can possibly equal the bread-and-milk, the rice-puddings of the school-boy?
...
"But this ghost of the school-boy pie, this spectral plum-pudding, sitting in judgment upon the present generation of pies and puddings..."

Susan Cooper
Rural Hours
1850

2 comments:

T.R. said...

I never realized that cattle were honest.

eped said...

oh yeah