Pumpkin Pie and Kids
Thanksgiving is a celebration that most Americans look forward to all year. In addition to turkey, dressing, yams, and other delicious parts of this annual meal, pumpkin pie is the most commonly served dessert on this holiday. Whether store-bought, homemade, topped with whipped cream, or just as it is, most American families save room for pumpkin pie to finish off their Thanksgiving feast.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of pumpkin flavor, even when it comes in pie form. Kids in particular may find this orange-colored dessert to be strange in its appearance, texture, and taste. However, they can still enjoy the long history of pumpkin pie in America and its association with Thanksgiving traditions. In addition, parents may be surprised to learn the many health benefits of pumpkin and then be inspired to incorporate it as an ingredient in more dishes outside of Thanksgiving. By next fall, your little ones may be jumping at the thought of pumpkin pie!
Pumpkin Pie and Thanksgiving
Though the colonists and indigenous people certainly ate squash, pumpkin, and other gourds in the 1600s, the chances of pumpkin pie being served at the first Thanksgiving are pretty much zero. This is due to a lack of butter, sugar, and other dessert ingredients at the time to turn pumpkin into pie. However, in 1796, a cookbook was published by a woman named Amelia Simmons entitled American Cookery. Not only is this considered to be the first American cookbook, but it also documents the new foods and recipes made by the American colonists after leaving Europe—and it’s likely the origin of pumpkin pie.
One recipe in Simmons’s cookbook was for pumpkin pudding, made with nutmeg and allspice and served in a crust. Since pumpkin was associated with Thanksgiving dinner from the beginning, this recipe became a popular dessert to serve after this holiday meal. Through the centuries, there have been some variations in pumpkin pie recipes and different preferences for whatever whipped cream goes on top. But overall, Thanksgiving pumpkin pie is one of the most iconic, treasured, and sustained American traditions.
No Pumpkin Pressure!
Ironically, for many kids and even adults, pumpkin pie is an acquired taste. It generally doesn’t have the pure sweetness of chocolate or other pie fillings. In addition, the pudding-like texture of pumpkin pie can be a bit off-putting for those with sensitivities. Therefore, it’s important to encourage your child to try pumpkin pie but don’t pressure them to love it instantly or eat more than they wish.
Our tastes and food preferences can change significantly across time, so you might find that your kids react differently to pumpkin pie as they get older. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner but not sure how your pumpkin pie may be received by your children, you can always serve an additional, small dessert option that appeals to them so they don’t feel left out. If you are with another host for the Thanksgiving meal and pumpkin pie is served for dessert, you can share a piece with your children just in case they don’t want their own. This may also be a great opportunity to teach your children what to say to politely decline something they may not want, such as:
- “No, thank you. I’m all set for now.”
- “That looks delicious, but no, thank you.”
- “I appreciate the offer, but no, thank you.”
Health Benefits of Pumpkin
Though most people associate pumpkin and pumpkin flavors with the fall season, it turns out that pumpkin is a healthy food to be eaten at any time of year.
Here are just some of the health benefits of pumpkin:
- High in vitamins and minerals
- Low in calories
- Excellent source of beta-carotene
- Nutrient dense
- Good source of fiber
- Can strengthen immunity
Pumpkin is also a versatile ingredient, so you don’t have to limit your family to a pie recipe. Your kids may enjoy pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin hummus, and even pumpkin ravioli. Using pumpkin in different ways can help children acclimate to the taste and texture, and they may decide one day that pumpkin pie is a delicious Thanksgiving treat!
Food is a wonderful way to make the fall season and upcoming holidays even more special. Traditional dishes such as pumpkin pie connect people across time and distance, and they can be a reminder for parents and children to feel gratitude in sharing such customs and culture. And if you don’t have pumpkin pie lovers in your family, you can begin your own Thanksgiving tradition with a different type of pie or a sampling of other desserts to enjoy.
At Cognisprings, we support parents and their children with games, books, toys, and puzzles that are thoughtfully designed, educational, and unique. Not only do each of our products make excellent holiday gifts, but they are also a source of family togetherness and fun for the whole year. We believe in promoting intellectual stimulation, growth, and self-confidence in every child and allowing families to create lasting memories. It is our priority at Cognisprings to provide options for screen-free fun for the entire family as well as healthy personal and cognitive development, creativity, and exploration for kids.