“And then there was Jules Desoulieres, who was a very singular genius, indeed, and went mad with the idea that he was a pumpkin. He persecuted the cook to make him up into pies — a thing which the cook indignantly refused to do. For my part, I am by no means sure that a pumpkin pie a la Desoulieres would not have been very capital eating indeed!”
– The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
The giant display of canned pumpkin at my grocery store, combined with ads for pumpkin spice everything, left me feeling inspired to do some baking this weekend. I also happened to be reading Edgar Allan Poe at the time, so I wondered if I could make a dessert in honour of the master of the macabre. I quickly discovered that if you do a search for Poe and Pumpkin you’ll find everything from pumpkin decorating stencils to the Poe’s Pumpkin Patch event at the Edgar Allan Poe museum. But after a little digging, I was able to find the Poe-Pumpkin connection I’d been hoping for.
Turns out, Edgar Allan Poe didn’t care much for Boston. In fact, according to this piece he wrote for the Broadway Journal in 1845, he thought “the Bostonians have no soul”. In that same piece, he went on:
“We like Boston. We were born there — and perhaps it is just as well not to mention that we are heartily ashamed of the fact. The Bostonians are very well in their way. Their hotels are bad. Their pumpkin pies are delicious. Their poetry is not so good. Their common is no common thing — and the duck-pond might answer — if its answer could be heard for the frogs.”
In his rant against the good city of Boston, Poe still managed to fit in a dessert reference, and that was all the excuse I needed to bake a pumpkin pie. The recipe I used called for a little too much clove, but the final result was still delicious. I highly recommend baking a pumpkin pie this season, and perhaps you can read a Poe tale while you wait for it to cool. The man loved pumpkin pie, after all, and so should we.