That smell, that horrid stench that I can vividly imagine waking up to year after year on Thanksgiving morning. It’s definitely not the same feeling that revives you from your slumber and has you in a dash to the kitchen as waking up to the scent of warm cinnamon rolls, waffles or reasonably any kind of food besides a large cheese cloth smothered bird in the oven.

So, yes, Audrey we are on the same side placing the bird on the overrated table. But, placing pumpkin pie beside the bird on this table, that is a declaration far too controversial for my comfort.

I know that I previously claimed the pumpkin spice flavor overrated, but as I emphasized with enthusiasm, pumpkin pie is the true star of the Thanksgiving spread. This delicacy is deserving of its own autumnal, candlelit shrine at the head of the Thanksgiving table.

To further specify, I mean my mom’s own homemade pumpkin pie, not the frozen ode to Marie Calendar or a store-bought Safeway Bakery pie. The only pumpkin pie I will and have ever consumed is my mother’s and I will stand by this statement until my last Thanksgiving.  

Turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls and etc. can be enjoyed as a side at any time of the year. Sure, together they provide a combination that is unique to the Thanksgiving dining experience, but pumpkin pie is a dessert that only feels right on this specific fourth Thursday of November gathering. 

My passion for pumpkin pie runs deep in my veins but I wouldn’t dare request lit birthday candles atop a pumpkin pie for my March birthday. Now, moving on to the creation process. I say this with great enthusiasm: Made. With. Love.

Pie making takes years of practice and mastery. As my mom’s pie-making assistant each year, I know achieving the perfect crust bake takes practice and intuition while watching the pie in the oven, and that creativity comes into play with the technicality of decorating an elaborate display of leaves with leftover dough. 

Baby food plopped into crust? More like love carefully poured from a mixing bowl into a perfectly rolled crust and garnished with a hand-sculped autumnal dough design. 

I would consider sides minimal effort in comparison to this creation. Green beans and cream of mushroom soup are plopped into a pan, rolls are toasted and potatoes are smashed, yet pie baking takes hours of effort and careful attention to detail. 

In the end all the baking is worthwhile, as my entire family sits in brief mutual silence appreciating that delicious fall taste paired with my uncle’s homemade whipped cream. 

There is absolutely no political thought in mind — at least until our second servings leave us with an empty pie tin and the classic Thanksgiving banter begins again. 

What is the best part of this Thanksgiving delicacy you may ask? Leftover pie on the breakfast menu. Bon appetite!

Natalie Rieth is an arts & entertainment editor. Follow her on Twitter: @natalie_rieth.

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