This week marks my second Thanksgiving living in the United States, and I am pleased to say that I go into the holiday this year a lot less naive than I was in 2019. “We can’t make the same mistake we did last time round,” I said to my fiance gravely when it was still October. He nodded with understanding. It was he, after all, who had to stand between two men throwing punches in the line for abandoned pies at the pie shop when we’d been invited round to someone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner and blithely told to “bring a pumpkin pie”. It was he who queued for three hours in line and he who I had, in a moment of cowardice, begged to make the phone call to the pie lady because I couldn’t stand to take the brunt of her disbelief: “You left your pumpkin pie order until the day before Thanksgiving? You’d have insulted me less if you’d slaughtered my firstborn and left its dismembered corpse on my living room floor!”
Against all odds, we did get a pie last year, and against all odds it was delicious. I wasn’t expecting much from a dessert made from a root vegetable – just as I struggled to ideologically accept the existence of the popular accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows – but one can’t argue logic with one’s taste buds. I don’t know if it’s secretly just maple syrup mashed up with a bit of thickener and some orange food colouring, but the pie is delicious. So delicious, in fact, that E and I ordered one well in advance this year, not long after that October conversation. Imagining that we had to be prepared in case another last-minute invitation came our way, we ordered a particularly fancy-looking pie from a local bakery called, charmingly, Four and Twenty Blackbirds.
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