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Oh my....can I relate to this story. I think this is something expats know all too well round this time of year.


I must say that thanks to you, I was able to explain to one of my (French) students what pumpkin pie was and how it tasted! However he didn't seem really enthusiastic...!
In the end, whether we like it or not, it's important to share your culture. So thanks for that.

(Most of French people will never admit that "food which comes from the country that created McDonald's" is good! - And the same ones happen to go to... "McDo" :)

Kristi Dorson

That's hilarious! It never occurred to me that pumpkin pie might be unfamiliar in France. Are pumpkins expensive in France? It's pretty easy to make your own pumpkin puree if you can get a small pumpkin and have a food processor! Failing that, maybe we could just mail you a box of Libby's from the States. Are we allowed to do that? (The shipping cost might outweigh the savings though, heh!)


Ah ah, yes, I flew in with cranberries, cream cheese and 2 cans of pumpkin puree in my suitcase. Probably the only french person EVER to bring American food back to the US ;-)


Huit euros cinquante (j'sais pas le code "Alt" pour le symbole pour euros)for a poorer version?! Quel scandale! During my year in Paris, mumblety-two-ahem yrs ago, my roomies & I hosted Thanksgiving for a large group of our classmates stuck in lodging w/o a kitchen, plus some brave copains francais. The super-marchés are now so much more Americanized than back then, when the only turkey to be had was en escalope. Closest we could come to the traditional Thanksgiving experience, farcie et tout, was a goose (& we had to deal w/ the head, feet & feathers!) I think we pureed our own citrouille for our pumpkin pie. I love your description of the reactions to yours! It's one thing for the French to turn green at such an acquired taste as peanut butter (esp. given their idea of nut butter is something as heavenly as Nutella!) But to gag at such a delicacy as pumpkin pie? Sad. It reminded me of when our French comp. instructor CALLED ME OUT, in class, for what he considered a failed dictionary translation in my Thanksgiving entry in our mandatory daily journal. "Comment dit-on 'frozen potatoes'?" he asked me. I had no idea why anyone would WANT to say such a thing-- beurk! He proceeded to "correct" my usage of "patates glacées." Jeez, I'd known what pommes de terres are since I learned to talk! I explained that I'd meant to say "glazed sweet potatoes." When I explained the concept, he granted that I'd said it correctly. But his turn to wonder why anyone would want to say, let alone eat, such a thing! His loss. My mom's were the best! No jarred marshmallow gooped "smashed" yams chez nous! [I love your malapropism -- I use it, too:-] Her pumpkin pie recipe is also the best!

Bonne fete de l'Action de Graces!


For a Euro or two you can buy enough potimarron and butternut squash in a local market to make your own puree... it's pretty easy (I checked out Martha Stewart's website to figure out how to roast and puree, and honestly it's easier than mashed potatos!


Yes, pumpkin is served as a savoury in Australia too; roasted alongside a roast leg of lamb, in soups, curries etc. But I tasted pumpkin pie in the US last year and loved it! It took an ENORMOUS amount of convincing to get my friends & family to try the one I made for Christmas day last year, after finding a $$$$ tin of Libby's in a food hall of a pricey department store. I love heavily-spiced sweets, but not everyone does. I can't say many who tried it fell in love with it, but there was, at least, no retching!


Probably too late for this year, but you can find pure puree of pumpkin (no sugar, salt, or additives) at Picard, the fantastic frozen food purveyor. They even have an organic version ('bio'); both only a couple of euros. When defrosted, the yield is two cups; perfect for a pumpkin pie (or quick bread).

Picard also carries pureed sweet potatoes, with some creme fraiche added. Miam!

No need to pay the highway robbery prices of La Grande Epicerie or even the various anglosaxon grocers in Paris.


I met a French lady who had lived in Cleveland for a couple of years when her husband was studying at Case Western Reserve. She told me how much she loved the U.S. and its people, pretty much everything, she said, except the pumpkin pie.

Don Madrid

I have the same situation here in Spain although we have a store that specializes in American foodstuff. A mere 6 € for pumpkin pie filling!
9 € for Lucky Charms however. You don't want to know what a Poptart costs.

Maple syrup is problematic here, people either love it or hate it. They don't seem to understand that the only reason pancakes exist is to transport syrup from the plate to my mouth.

J.A., your Foreign Parts correspondent

Emma: Thanks for the Picard tip. I have always avoided Picard because I'm afraid of a grocery store that sells only frozen foods, but in this case I think I'll buy my pumpkin there!

And Don Madrid: I agree completely about the maple syrup. What's a pancake without it? By the way, have you ever tried maple butter? MMMMMMMM

-- J.A., your Foreign Parts correspondent

Kacy Atkin

I got a can for 3.50! Made a delicious pumpkin pie!


I prefer sweet potato pie, but will gladly scarf down pumpkin pie if it is available.
I have to be honest, I have always had a problem with finicky folks....but then again I'm a foodie and just love the idea of eating in general


well, i was going to say: no worries! just buy yourself a potiron and make the puree yourself!

and then i remembered that the wedge i bought to make pie set me back 10E.

(although it was organic, so ...)


I had the same thing this year. I'm from NZ so I'm used to eating pumpkin exclusively as a savory dish. After living in the US for a few years, pumpkin pie is by far one of my favourite desserts. And this year, well I had to make sure I made something. Looked high and low for many many weeks, eventually purchasing pureed pumpkin from Picard. But it's not the same as canned! The flavour is definitely weaker. Tasty but still not the same. So applause to you for forking out the 8€50.


I'll second the sweet potato pie mention. I made it for the first time only this year, and I found it silkier and more flavorful, as well as easier to make. Mark Bittman's NY Times recipe is a gem.

I do think it's funny, though, that your French guests had a time with your pie. It's essentially a custard made with vegetable matter in place of milk, a "crème non-brûlée" or "quiche sucrée", if you will. And what quiche isn't made without nutmeg?!

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