Happy Holidays Everyone!  In the spirit of the season – I have a few presents to share.  First, a book suggestion, from my all time favorite old house photographer, artist and writer, Samuel Chamberlain.  He did a series of books for Hastings House – all photographic documents of how these homes and rooms looked in earlier days, before we truly began modernizing them.  The black and white/sepia photos have a wonderful atmosphere.  I can just imagine him knocking on doors of strangers with his camera, hoping for a peek inside.   His books are beautiful, and an invaluable resource for the homeowner as well as the restorer.  You’re sure to find one in an antique book shop somewhere.  I found this one on Amazon.

Chamberlain Book

And here’s a link to an article about very early Christmases in New England by one of my favorite editors – New England Antiques Journal’s John Fiske.  It’s an interesting and fun read.

Lastly, you must try this pumpkin pie recipe!  It’s the best I’ve ever tasted.  It’s from an old cookbook I bought at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston many years ago,”The Fine Arts Cookbook I.”   I hope they don’t mind, and I thank Mrs. Curt Gowdy, of the Ladies Committee, for entering the recipe.


Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

1 baked pie shell

1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin filling)

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 package plain gelatin

1/4 cup ice water

3 egg whites*

1/2 cup sugar

1 pint heavy cream

sugar and flavoring to taste

In a saucepan, mix pumpkin, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks and spices, and cook over moderately low heat for 6-7 minutes. /Dissolve gelatin in water. /Stir into hot pumpkin mixture. / Set aside to cool. / Beat egg whites until stiff. / Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff. / Fold into cooled pumpkin mixture and spoon into baked pie shell. / Chill until firm. / To serve, whip cream, adding sugar and flavoring to taste, and pile this on top of pie.

*I first made it years ago with real egg whites and it was delicious.  And obviously – I lived to tell about it.  But because of concerns with raw egg white,  you can substitute meringue or egg white powder.

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