Liz Smith: Pumpkin is the New Bacon!

PUMPKIN is the new bacon!” reported New York magazine recently.

And people do get all pumpkin crazy around Halloween into Thanksgiving Day.

Well, pumpkin may — as reporter Felix Salmon writes — “be perfectly pitched for today’s eaters.” But a lot of just plain eaters and even traditionalists simply do not like pumpkin pie. And there it is, the Thanksgiving holiday staple dessert.

So, once again, we will reprint an alternative, the famous Pink Teacup café’s recipe for a dessert that looks just about the same as pumpkin. At the Teacup, they always offered Sweet Potato Pie and here is the recipe:


2 lbs. Yams
½ cup of butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs, separated
½ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
½ cup of evaporated milk

Peel and boil yams until mashable. Add butter, spices, salt, sugar to hot yams. Beat until light and smooth.

Beat egg yolks until light and add to mixture.

Stir in orange juice, orange rind and milk. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold in.

Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Preheat oven to 350 and bake 35 minutes or until the pie puffs up and is firm in the middle. Cool on a rack.

Add whipped cream.

Then, dig in, Pilgrims! You’ll have something that resembles pumpkin pie but is a thousand times better tasting and easy to make once you assemble the ingredients. Is it fattening? Sure, but Thanksgiving only comes once a year.

I have been giving this recipe annually for 50 years. People stop me on the streets of New York and ask me for it or about it. So, consider this a public service. And I’ve given you a few days time to work on this dessert, which is really easy to concoct even if you are not a chef.

The whole world doesn’t like pumpkins except to look at!

I’M NOT rushing the season but Thanksgiving is when tourists and New Yorkers start thinking about those fabulous women in uniform who lean back against one another until they all fall down boom in a straight line on the Radio City Music Hall stage after their little cannon shoots off its imaginary bang!

I’m talking about the Rockettes and their wooden soldiers number, legends for all Christmases for 85 years! This year the show is refurbished, re-costumed, re-choreographed but with the usual oldies-but-goodies. The opening where Santa takes us into New York City on Christmas Eve while we are wearing the special glasses is worth the rumored $49 price. Surely worth it.

Radio City during the holidays is one of the rare things one can count on. This year the Rockettes are emphasizing health and fitness as part of their regime and aspiring dancers and dance fans can meet the Rockettes, train with them for a day, pose for pictures and all that. Go to the Radio City web site.

But to see the Christmas pageant this year, young or old or middle-aged, you only have until December 30th for the greatest live show in town. That slogan was invented for the Circus but it truly applies to the glamorous Radio City Rockettes now!

This column originally appeared on on 11/20/12

One Response so far.

  1. avatar wlaccma says:

    This is such a fabulous show. I am waiting to take my grandchildren who are still a bit young. Every child and adult in the US has to see this show at least once. You don’t know where to look there is so much going on. When the live animals walk across the stage, you are amazed. Don’t miss it. We saw it once during a blizzard in NYC. There were dozens of people standing out front giving away tickets since the trains were not running between CT and NJ. No one could get in who had tickets and were coming from out of town.. Hard to believe, people who had children in tow, were turning them down. They did not know what they were missing.