(ABC4) – Thanksgiving is a time to rejoice, a time for community, but it’s also a time for food and lots of it! But do you know where your most-beloved dishes come from? 

Pumpkin Pie

The first Americans likely knew about pumpkins from the Wampanoag tribe, who signed a peace treaty with the Mayflower Pilgrims, and there were clues that pumpkin pie had been made in the 1600s as one account by ship captain Edward Jonson wrote that as New England prospered, “people prepared “apples, pears, and quince tarts instead of their former Pumpkin Pies.”

It wouldn’t be until 1792 in American Cookery that the first printed pumpkin pie recipe was recorded, and the pie isn’t all that much different from current day’s pie recipes. Now, we just add more whipped cream. 

Apple Pie

A surprising fact about this particular pie is that it didn’t originate in America (and neither did the apples, which are native to Asia). According to Emily Upton from Today I Found Out, the first recorded recipe for the pie was written in 1381 in England, “called for figs, raisins, pears, and saffron in addition to apples.” These earlier pies didn’t call for much sugar since, at the time, sugar was an expensive and hard-to-get item. The pie was served in a pastry called the “coffin,” not meant for consumption and instead meant as protection for the treat.

Pecan Pie

Give thanks to these pies, as pecans are native to North America (and is also the only native nut that grows naturally in North America). Some accounts believe the pecan pie originated in New Orleans after the French settled in, but accounts conflict with another idea that it was originally made in Alabama in the early 1800s. It’s also possible that the pecan pie known today used to be a sugar pie that originated from Medieval Europe and later incorporated pecans when settlers came to North America. 

What is known is that the earliest printed pecan recipes popped up in Texas cookbooks in the 1870s and 1880s, and the first recipe that resembled the commonly known pie was published in St. Louis in 1898.

Candied Yams

A dessert where vegetables and marshmallows collide; it has been a traditional staple of many Thanksgiving meals since the early 1900s. According to the Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, in 1917, Angelus Marshmallow wanted to advertise the “thermoreversibility” or versatility of their squishy, white product. The company requested the prominent cook Janet McKenzie Hill to create new and novel uses for the marshmallow. She was the one who popularized marshmallows in hot chocolate and added marshmallows to Thanksgiving’s famous potato casserole. 

Pumpkin Roll

While there are conflicting accounts of the origins and creator of this famous dessert, the first recorded pumpkin roll was sold from 1947 to 1961 by Gifford’s Ice Cream and Candies, and the roll had an “orange-pineapple ice cream center… combined with our taste-perfect vanilla ice cream.” The first version of what is commonly referred to as a pumpkin roll appeared in 1977 as the sourdough pumpkin roll in the recipe book Rita Davenport’s Sourdough cookery by Rita Davenport. Later in 1978, came the spiced pumpkin roll from Sunset cookbook of desserts by David E. Clark, who linked it to Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving differs between families, and so do desserts. There are a great many different types of sweetened and non-so-sweet dessert combinations, and all are perfect for this holiday season.