Our family will pause during Thanksgiving dinner and each of us will take a moment to mention what we’re most thankful for in the past year. Other than that, I have to confess our holiday is all about food.
The eating begins the moment I arrive at my sister’s house. I put down my suitcase and head for the kitchen where a loaf of fresh pumpkin bread is waiting. I’ll eat my first slice of many before I even take off my coat.
We have turkey of course, but pumpkin bread is the official food for the week of our family’s Thanksgiving. I’ve already done the math–and I’m worried whether the 14 loaves Carla already made will be enough for the 14 people in the family before fights break out over the crumbs.
I doubt if anyone but me remembers that the tradition started when Carla and Paul came to Calfornia the first year I was married to H, my first husband. You can gauge the success of that visit by the fact that my sister and her family never came to California again for Thanksgiving, requiring me to make the annual pilgrimage east.
That first year, Carla got the pumpkin bread recipe over the phone and scribbled it on a scrap of paper. She will be shocked to find out that I actually SAVED that recipe in its original, oil-stained form. (Not for any historical or sentimental reasons; just that for 25 years I’ve been too lazy to rewrite or type it on anything else.)
Somewhere along the line Carla started using a different recipe, the one we’re all used to. But when I make pumpkin bread, which is more rare, I use that original recipe. You would never guess it by the amount of Carla’s pumpkin bread I eat, but the truth is I like MY recipe better. Not just because it’s way easier.
Right now I’m going to do something I’ve never done on this blog and may never do again—share a recipe. Both of them.
CARLA’S PUMPKIN BREAD
Dry Ingredients: mix in a separate bowl and set aside
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pumpkin mixture: mix in a separate bowl and set aside
1 lb. canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
In a large bowl with mixer on high, cream the following ingredients:
2 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup Crisco
Add in flour mixture and pumpkin mixture in alternating amounts until fully blended. Pour into 2 loaf pans, greased and floured. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
MY PUMPKIN BREAD
Blend in ONE large bowl (already a reason I like mine better):
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup oil (I use safflower)
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg (If I don’t have one of the spices, I skip it; it’s still great)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspooon baking powder
Pour into two loaf pans, greased and floured. Bake for 1 hr.–1 1/4 hours.
Either recipe is guaranteed to make you very popular at this time of year. If you are not lazy like me, try both. And let me know what you think.