Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Pumpkin Torte and Green Dream
One of my cyber friends writing to the Socknitters list today went "off topic" to explain Thanksgiving to the non-American list members. She described it as "a holiday characterized by near-universal kitchen panic".

I've never had the kitchen panic, but then our family doesn't require a multitude of different dishes. We do just the basic turkey dinner with a few additions and dessert. This year Mom is fixing the turkey, dressing, and gravy, DH Bob is making the mashed potatoes, and my part of the cooking is the traditional Green Dream and a wonderful Pumpkin Torte topped with whipped cream.

As I was making the torte this evening, I reminisced about the first time I ever tasted this recipe. Back in the 80s when the drug company I work for was The Upjohn Company, it was still a family run business. The cafeteria had a chef who made wonderful things from scratch. For the company Thanksgiving lunch, the Thursday before the actual Thanksgiving, one of the dessert selections was Pumpkin Torte. It became an employee favorite and the company printed off the recipe and let everyone take a copy.

First, a layer of graham cracker crumbs and butter. Lots of butter.

Second, a layer of cream cheese, sugar and eggs. That gets baked.

Third, a mixture of pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, milk, gelatin, and spices cooked together to make a custard.

Fourth, the egg whites are beaten with a little sugar and folded into the pumpkin mixture.

Lastly, the top layer is real whipping cream. Whipped, of course.

Now, three mergers later, the Pfizer cafeteria is managed by Aramark and I'm getting Pfired. It's fitting that I made the pumpkin torte for our family Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe is part of my Upjohn legacy.

I've been making Green Dream for over thirty years. I guess it's a family tradition. Not one I planned and not one I would have chosen, but some family members won't let me stop making it. Other family members won't eat it but they're so used to seeing it they expect it to be there.

Green Dream is 32 marshmallows melted in two cups of milk and then poured over a package of lime Jello and twelve ounces of cream cheese. After that cools, a medium size can of crushed pineapple is added along with some Miracle Whip and a big container of Cool Whip. It is just tangy and sweet enough to perfectly set off the flavor of the turkey.

If anyone wants the detailed recipe for Pumpkin Torte or Green Dream, let me know. I'll be pleased to share.

Hopefully reading this has made you hungry. If you are American, Happy Thanksgiving. And please don't panic in the kitchen.