Making a Historic ‘Pomkin’ Pie From a 1796 Recipe

Max Miller of Tasting History, who previously celebrated his own nuptials by making a wedding cake from 1769, shared the interesting history of the word pumpkin, noting that it started off very differently and evolved with the New World.

The French spelled it pompom which came from medieval French and then the English turned it into pompion or pumpion, and both of those words could really refer to all manner of squash, or even melons sometimes. It wasn’t until later that they added the K to make pompkin, -kin being a suffix that could be used to denote a similarity between things.

This, of course, was a prelude to his preparing a recipe for “pompkin” pie from American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, one of the first known American cookbooks from 1796.

Her recipes are still rather different than the modern pumpkin pie.…First of all  she calls it pompkin and you’ll find that early on there are a lot of ways to spell the word pumpkin, The second major difference between this and a modern pie is that she sweetens it not with sugar but with molasses so it will be far less sweet  than we’re used to.

1796 Pompkin Pie