While few people have ever heard of the poet/author Lydia Maria Child, everyone has probably heard the opening lines to one of her most famous poems: The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day.

Lydia Maria Child, born in Medford, Massachusetts on February 11, 1802, was an abolitionist and novelist famous for her books on early 19th century female domestic life and racial equality. She was also a journalist, cookbook author, and even wrote a tome on world religions. While her bestselling book “The American Frugal Housewife” made her famous, she’s still best known for the poem that starts off with … “Over the river and through the woods…” and ends with “Hurrah for the pumpkin pie”.

I’ve always wondered if Lydia Maria Child was obsessed with pumpkin pies because, besides adding a pie to her poem, three different versions appear in her cookbook. She offers the pumpkin pie baker different thoughts about whether or not to scald the milk or add maple syrup instead of sugar. Of all of her recipes, the pumpkin pie recipe is the most confusing because in the middle of the directions she veers off into thought about how the richness of each pie version will affect different members of her family.

In honor of the season, I’ve reprinted her famous poem (it’s in the public domain) and I’ve added my favorite pumpkin chiffon pie recipe below that. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and wish for many blessings for you and your family.

The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day

Over the river, and through the wood,
  To grandfather’s house we go;
       The horse knows the way 
       To carry the sleigh
  Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood—
  Oh, how the wind does blow!
       It stings the toes 
       And bites the nose
  As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
  To have a first-rate play.
       Hear the bells ring 
       “Ting-a-ling-ding”,
  Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood
  Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
       Spring over the ground, 
       Like a hunting-hound!
  For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
  And straight through the barn-yard gate.
       We seem to go 
       Extremely slow,—
  It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood—
  Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
       Hurrah for the fun! 
       Is the pudding done?
  Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

(This poem is in the public domain)


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