Eek of the week: Pumpkin Style Pie Dessert

autumn leaves on forest floor

I would rather show you something that was pleasantly autumnal, so there will be no picture of the equally autumnal Eek. (The link to an easy recipe for old fashioned pumpkin chiffon pie is at the end of the post, should you wish to skip the horror and go semi-directly thence.)

Pumpkin Style Pie Dessert is a mix, brought to you by the folks at Jell-O, aka Kraft Foods, and it came to my attention because my local supermarket featured it on an end cap, exactly at eye level. Boxes and boxes and boxes of it, so it was at everybody’s eye level.

As “Pumpkin Style Pie Dessert” makes clear to the label savvy, there is absolutely no pumpkin – or any other fruit or vegetable (unless you count carrageenan) in it. Whether the non label savvy will be enticed by “flavored with natural cinnamon and ginger” is a near-existential question I don’t feel equipped to answer.

The 9.2 ounce package costs $3.59.  To make what is probably a pretty thin 9-inch pie, you add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 5 tablespoons of butter or margarine to the trademarked Honey Graham graham cracker crust, then 2 cups of milk to the agglomeration of  sugar, starch, other sweeteners, texture enhancers, preservatives, artificial colors and flavorings that turns an innocent dairy product into the ersatz pumpkin filling.

I know, I know, fish in a barrel but good grief. Plus I for one need frequent reminders that this is the norm for a whole lot of people, people who are responsible for getting dinner on the table. Not perhaps the majority, but almost certainly many more than make pie from scratch. Our current culture’s problem with food goes far beyond a fondness for the fast kind you buy from your car.

If all this makes you think positive thoughts about making a genuine pumpkin pie – not a difficult pie to make, especially if you use a crumb crust – consider scrolling down here for Mamie Eisenhower’s Pumpkin Pie recipe.

You have to scroll down because the first recipe is for Cheese Dollars, “the ultimate potato chip,” a close relative of cheese straws that gets its addictive quality at least partly thanks to a food-industrial product that cannot be manufactured at home and for which I make no apologies.

Photo by Bill Bakaitis


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