Food for Thought: Local Traditions!


Recently, at a staff meeting at lunch, I tried Sugar Cream Pie for the first time. This is a surprising thing to my co-workers, who have grown up with this concept as part of their lives and as their state pie (who knew that states had official pies?). This pie is a custard-like pie that really just tastes like sweetness, creaminess, and nutmeg, so to me it was like eggnog in a pie.

It made me think about the foods that characterize a place; my coworker talked about how during the Great Depression there was very little fruit available and so people made this pie to be able to have a cheaper alternative to fruit pies. Now, it feels like a can of fruit pie filling is far less expensive than the large amounts of cream and butter needed to make such a pie. It is funny how things shift.

The other aspect is that the pie is very work-intensive; it requires substantial and thoughtful stirring in order to come together in its traditional wiggly and solid form. Many a Sugar Cream Pie has been a semi-liquid. Granted, the liquid probably still tasted good, but just like no one prefers their ice cream melted, there is a bit of risk with making this regional favorite.

That is a risk I want to take though, the risk of getting to know local foods and trying to make them. Sugar Cream Pie isn’t top on my list, but I am fascinated by the backstory and the recipes handed down over generations. It makes me want to raid my mom’s recipe card box and see if something from my childhood is actually a food that goes back a long way in our family. I don’t want all my food knowledge to be based off recipe sites online; there are other ties that make us find food meaningful.

9 Comments, RSS

  1. ashleyleia February 8, 2018 @ 10:33 am

    That connection between food and place is so interesting.

  2. Sonia Chatterjee Banerjee February 8, 2018 @ 10:56 am


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    • lauramleavitt February 8, 2018 @ 11:43 am


  3. backuphill February 8, 2018 @ 2:07 pm

    Another good pie to try, if you haven’t already, is a Buttermilk Pie. It is one of my favorites and I only get it on my birthday (because I request that instead of cake). I discovered it a few years back at a restaurant and then found a friend that was from Louisiana who had an “authentic” recipe they used in their family. Simply amazing!

    I haven’t had Sugar Cream Pie, so that will be one to search out and give a taste. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Emma February 8, 2018 @ 2:27 pm

    Not something I had heard of but want to try making now. As a Brit married to an American with German heritage we spend a lot of time talking about food we grew up with and where it came from.

  5. jenniferguerrero1 February 8, 2018 @ 4:08 pm

    I wanna try that! 😀

  6. jaimieweb February 8, 2018 @ 9:10 pm

    How interesting, I have never heard of sugar cream pie. Not only do I want to try it but I like that you shared the history. It gives more meaning to the pie than it just being a dessert.

  7. Anna Drake February 9, 2018 @ 2:53 pm

    One of the favorite gifts my mother-in-law gave me was ‘The United States Regional Cook Book.’ As the name implies it includes recipes from across the U.S. From it I learned to make chicken egg foo young from the Western section and New England Clam Chowder. from the New England portion. It was originally published in 1939, and in its Midwest segment, I found many of Mother’s favorite dishes. The discover absolutely floored me. So yes, you may be onto something. Of course today, Mexican and Italian dishes seem ti dominate our tables, but once upon a time, our cooking seems tiave reflected out little corner of the world.

    Your pie sounds good and I wish you luck with it. It is fun to conquer new dishes. And thank you for pointing my memories to day back to that old cookbook.

  8. Nonceba Mlungwana February 10, 2018 @ 6:10 pm

    This pie looks like milk tart (a South African dessert).

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