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Sara

Sara and me

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Esther Freud’s book The Sea House: A Novel is about a small village on England’s southern coast. There are characters galore in this book, and it sometimes takes a bit to figure out which decade you’re reading about (few clues) or which person. Oh yes, her, current day. Oh, that’s him, during the war. Max, oh, I thought he died. No, that’s his son. I think. The book is about love found, love lost, love sometimes found again, sometimes not. About how fleeting it can be or seem. There is family dysfunction. Relationship dysfunction. There is quite a bit of adultery going on, yet I found myself understanding why. The book relays a true story (names changed) about an architect and a woman who is trying to write a book about him. Drawings and paintings of this village play a big part. There is some mental dis-health too. And throughout, it’s about the land, the sea, and this remarkable house. I wondered if in the hardback edition there were any photo plates of the drawings. One character is driven to draw the rooms he’s in, the house he’s in, or the house he conjures in his mind. There are lots of beach walks, and there is a huge tidal flood too. Despite having some difficulty keeping track of the characters, it was a good read.

Amor Towles’ book, Rules of Civility: A Novel was quite a read. It’s NYC, 1937. Twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent [Kon-TENT she iterates to many] is in a Greenwich Village jazz bar when a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve. She struggles to keep her poverty at bay, and like many women of her time and the day, wished themselves on men of means. There is love. There is loss. And through it all, the thread that holds it all together is the mores – the rules of civility – required of most everyone. To keep up the face. To swing. To survive. Really well developed drama and a very real sense of place. I’m reviewing the book in one of my book clubs; fortunately there is a lot online about this book.

Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien. What an adorable book. True story about Stacey’s 20 years with a feisty but lovable barn owl. She’s a biologist, was working at Cal Tech and someone brought in a tiny abandoned barn owl. She took him home, and he became her “mate” (that happens at year two). Everything about this book is interesting, from how she nurtures him in his tiny habitat, to how she transforms her living space to accommodate a full grown owl. He couldn’t be habilitated to the wild because of a wing injury (likely when he fell out of the nest). It’s a heartwarming story.

Loved The Wedding Officer: A Novel by Anthony Capella. It takes place in the middle of WWII in Naples. A young British officer, Captain James Gould, is sent to Naples to wade through the zilions of applications from soldiers to marry local Italian women (and presumably take them back to England when the war ends). The supposition is that all the women are ladies of the night, and it’s their ticket to a better life. He holds to his principles until he meets lovely Livia, who begins cooking for a group of soldiers (it was a real job). Food plays a starring role in this book, as well as Vesuvius’ eruption. It’s a very interesting story – I don’t know if it’s true there were such positions in the British military, but it sounds like it. Gould has to find his way through the miasma of politics, corruption, provisioning in a war-torn country and the warfront. But all of it is laced with the very sweet love story.

Reading behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian by Jill Grunenwald. So interesting. Jill is  young, with a newly minted degree in library science at a time when the economy was very slow. She accepts a position in a minimum security prison in Ohio. She needs a job, and agrees to the commute, rain, shine or snow. The “library” is limited. The inmates her “staff.” She weaves her way through the pitfalls of limited funds, theft, perversion, jerks, rules, and every myriad of inmate problems. Very interesting read.

The Walls of Lucca by Steve Physioc. A novel that takes place in between WWI and II. Franco is a weary Italian soldier. He stumbles into a vineyard and is hired. It’s hard work (nothing he’s ever done before) but he’s a very diligent worker. He didn’t stop there to find love, but it found him. There’s a lot of sinister Fascist activity throughout the book, plenty of local history, and of course, a bit about the walls of Lucca.

The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna. A novel about Croatia in the aftermath of their more recent wars. A British family buys a very dilapidated house, and a local man (the handyman) begins helping them fix it up. Two children play a part, with the British husband merely peeking in now and then. There is local dissension, town secrets, some violence as the town tries to heal from years of war. And the handyman just keeps working, pondering his own demons as well. Very riveting story.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition. Some of that is hard to read, but Follett writes sagas, and I was really “into it.” Have always loved his writing, and if you haven’t ever read this sidebar before, or my section on books, his book, The Pillars of the Earth: A Novel  is my#1 favorite book I’ve ever read. In this Fire book, though, there are numerous characters, families really, in France, London and the (fictitious I think) town of Kingsbridge. Riveting reading, as are all of his books.

Having read all of Kristin Hannah’s books, I knew I’d read her latest too: Between Sisters: A Novel.  Two sisters, raised by the same mother but different fathers. At a young age a rift occurs and the sisters go their own way. Anger is there, but deep down you know, reading this, that they care about each other. The one that left is a successful but lonely attorney in Seattle. The other is a single mother who owns a small seasonal cabin rental facility near Seattle. It’s a very sweet story – takes awhile to “get there” but you know they’re going to reconcile and find their sister-groove again. Good book. Worth reading.

Just finished Matt McCarthy’s book The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year. It tells the true life story of his first year as an intern at a New York hospital. You ride the wave of his first, painful days when he questions if he was ever meant to be a doctor, to the end of the year when he recognized his true passion for infectious disease diagnostics. I really enjoyed the book, and commend him for being so brutally honest about his own vulnerabilities and what he saw as complete inexperience. If you enjoy this genre of book, this is a good one.

Also read Karen Harper’s book The Royal Nanny: A Novel. The time frame is 1890s onward, at Sandringham, when Charlotte Bill (a real person) was hired by the Duke and Duchess of York, to care for their children. She was hired as an under-nurse, but soon became the prime caregiver of the youngest children. She became “Lala” to the children, and they loved her dearly. And she them. This is a serious below-stairs look at that part of the royal family, their foibles, idiosyncrasies, and even the proclivities of the children themselves. It was a great read. Loved it from the first page.

Also read Roger Swindell’s Mendelevski’s Box. It’s an historical novel about the aftermath of WWII in impoverished Amsterdam. It’s an eye-opener. Over the last many years I’ve marveled at authors who have found a niche of some part of that awful war and it was enough to write a great story. Simon is the hero, here. He was a Jew and miraculously survived Auschwitz and returned to his home, hoping to find his mother and sister (who were also at Auschwitz, but he knew not their fates). He knew his father had died in the camp. The family home had been taken over by others. He was destitute. He befriended two young women (one had worked for his father in his clock-making business). There is a “box” in the story – an important element. Simon finds a job, income, friends, and love. Finds some caring people, but also encounters some very shady characters as well. The story is told very well. There is mystery, poignant love and redemption. Well worth reading.

Camille De Maio wrote Before the Rain Falls. Very interesting story about a young doctor who returns to her border town in Texas for a very short vacation. And about a young down-on-his-luck journalist who goes to the same town to get a story. There’s a death/murder long ago, the sharp shards of emotions that remain in the town. The survivors. The grandmother who spent 7 decades in prison. And a love story. Very sweet book about family. Love. Loss. As I write this, it’s $.99 on Kindle.

Also read a very quirky non-fiction book: The Perfect Gentleman: The remarkable life of Dr. James Miranda Barry by June Rose. This is a biography about a person who lived in the mid-1800s. He was a surgeon; graduated from Edinburgh Medical School at the age of 14. Joined the British Army as a medical officer then sent off to South Africa and many other tropical outposts during his career. There was always “talk” about him. He never married. He was querulous. He got high-handed too frequently. He was a tee-totaler, and always had a dog named Psyche. He was a brilliant diagnostician and was appalled at the condition of prisons and even ordinary Army barracks. When he died it came out – Dr. James Barry was really a woman. And a woman who had borne a child. Facts that were suspected by many, but never corroborated. S/he did so because a woman wasn’t allowed to go to college, let alone medical school. When you read it in context, it’s logical what her mentors suggested she do. I can’t say that this book is all that well written – some of it uses the stilted language of the time, even though it’s current in its publication. But it’s a fascinating read nonetheless. So I’ve read, there is going to be a documentary made about her life.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. The premise of this book is different . . . a woman writer goes to Scotland to connect with distant heritage. She hopes to gain inspiration for her next book. As she investigates, she discovers she’s related to a family that lived in the early 1700s at Slains Castle on the east coast of Scotland near Aberdeen. This was the time of the Jacobite rebellion (the exiled King James and his hoped-for return to England). When I say this woman gets inspiration . . .well, it’s more than that. She questions whether she could possibly have genes that contain memory (what an idea, huh?), because she begins to know how events took place, who the people were, what they said, exactly where they stood, the layout of the castle, even the furniture in the rooms. She wasn’t channeling, actually, but I suppose it could be interpreted so. The book is full of the Jacobite history (more than I’d ever known before, but then I love English/Scottish history). There’s a romance back then, and a romance in the today time. Both lovely. Great book. An historical novel of the first order.

Another great read, The Island of Sea Women: A Novel by Lisa See. Six months ago I attended an author’s talk at the Bowers Museum. Lisa See was the speaker and shared her story about this book. I’ve heard her speak several times before (she lives near me) and have read several of her books. This one, though, is very different. She was sitting in a doctor’s office reading some magazine and spotted a tiny snippet of data about Jeju Island off the coast of Korea where the island as a whole is matriarchal because the women were trained from a young age to deep dive, free dive, for mollusks. These women were the breadwinners. Husbands stayed home and cared for the babies. The island is real. The history is real. And what happened during WWII on this island is horrific – makes me feel ashamed that our military had a hand in what happened to many people. But everyone should read this book. It’s a novel, about 2 girls who are divers and how their lives diverge for a variety of cultural reasons and because of the war.

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford. A novel about the early days of radio in London. This book takes place in the 1920s and tells not only the general history of the early days of radio, but also the role women played (a vital one). Initially it was in the background, because women weren’t considered intelligent enough. Maisie, the heroine in the book, works her way up the ranks. It’s a fascinating read from beginning to end. Many famous characters (real) flow through the studios. Early voting rights play a part in the story line also. And some wartime intrigue. You’ll find yourself cheering from the bleachers when women make a tiny inroad into the male-dominated field.

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler. My friend Ann, from Idaho, brought it with her as we spent a week in Palm Desert in February. She handed it to me and said I’d really like it. Oh, did I! Loved the book. This book is a novel, but based on the life of Alva Smith Vanderbilt (Belmont). Her family was nearly destitute (and faking it) when a marriage was proposed for her with William Vanderbilt. There is lots of dialogue in the book which is made up, but I’m guessing the author probably read many diary entries of Alva (and the family) to create a very intriguing and readable story. A life of unbelievable privilege. Several children, including one who marries into a titled family in England. You see the inner life of Alva – her day to day busy work, charity work, visiting for afternoon tea, the undercurrent of society’s morals – men were nearly expected to have mistresses or affairs. This was the Victorian Age when sex between husbands and wives was not necessarily, and usually not, passionate. I loved this book from page one until the end.  Alva was a suffragette of the first order. Having read the book, I have a lot of admiration for her, even though she lived in the highest echelons of society.

Also read In Falling Snow: A Novel, by Mary-Rose McColl. From amazon: Iris, a young Australian nurse, travels to France during World War I to bring home her fifteen-year-old brother, who ran away to enlist. But in Paris she meets the charismatic Dr. Frances Ivens, who convinces Iris to help establish a field hospital in the old abbey at Royaumont, staffed entirely by women—a decision that will change her life. Seamlessly interwoven is the story of Grace, Iris’s granddaughter in 1970s Australia. Together their narratives paint a portrait of the changing role of women in medicine and the powerful legacy of love. The book  gives you a vivid picture of the state of nursing in WWI, but the story is quite mesmerizing. And there’s a twist almost at the end. Highly recommend.

Also couldn’t put down The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. A long story that begins in war-torn Russia. Cavalry officer Dmitri falls head over heels in love with one of the daughters of Tzar Nicholas. But events intervene, as history tells us. That was 1914. Cut to 2016 when a young woman inherits an ancient cabin in upper New York State and she discovers a jeweled pendant. The two times weave together to make a really riveting story. Lots of Russian history; well written; as I said, couldn’t put it down.

Uncommon Woman. A book about Colonial America, but really the western frontier at that time, which is in western Pennsylvania. The warring native Americans play large in this book. There is a romance, yes, but this book is not “a romance.” It’s more than that – about the hardships of living on the land, away from protection, Tessa and her family struggle to make a living and avoid the angered natives who take revenge when their people are murdered. Clay Tygart is a respected officer/soldier and commands a fort near where Tessa lives. Clay was captured by Lanape Indians when he was a young man, so he straddles both sides of the equation – first hand, he knows how the natives feel, but also his role in the lure of American exploration of the west. The natives wish to preserve their hunting grounds from the encroaching settlers. This book takes place in the mid-1700s I think. Loved it. Not only the history that is brilliantly detailed, even to the summer heat they experience. The crops they raise, the constant fear of attack. And the sweet love that weaves through it. Not a speck of sex in it.

Reading mysteries has never loomed large in my reading life. Occasionally, yes. And some espionage type books. But light mysteries have not intrigued me much. But one of my book clubs had us read Louise Penny’s novel, A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel). The member actually handed out a cheat sheet of the characters in the book (many) and posed several questions of us as we read through it. The cheat sheet really helped. She asked us when (or if) we caught the foreshadowing of the murder culprit (I never did). The book takes place at a lovely inn in Canada and Chief Inspector Gamache (he is quite a character – along with his wife – are vacationing there) when a murder occurs. None of the characters escape the C.I.’s scrutiny. Lois, our book club member, led us through a very thorough and lively discussion of the book. Usually, my complaint about murder mysteries is that they don’t make for good discussion at a book club – but this book was an exception, for sure. Many of my learned book club friends rave about Louise Penny. One told me I should read Still Life next, and probably should have read it before I read this one.

Rachel Hauck is an author I’ve enjoyed reading over the years. Just finished reading The Memory House. It’s about relationships. Love. About family. About secrets. Doesn’t that just describe about 90% of every novel out there these days? Beck is a cop in NYC; a series of events occur and she is forced to take leave. Just then she inherits a house in Florida. She barely remembers the woman who bequeathed the house to her. Then you meet Bruno, a sports agent who will figure large in Beck’s life. Then the book jumps back in time to Everleigh, the woman who owned the house and you learn her story. Really stories of her two husbands. And how do those stories connect to present day. Very sweet book. Not a speck of sex in this one, either.

The Parrot Who Owns Me: The Story of a Relationship by Joanna Burger. Such an interesting book – nonfiction. The author is an ornithologist by profession (and a PhD) and this memoir of sorts is about her Red-Lored Amazon parrot she and her husband own. But no, it’s the parrot who owns her/them.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. A book club friend recommended this book, I immediately bought it on my Kindle. I could NOT put the book down. I devoured it. Any other “work” I should have been doing was swept aside as I read and read of Resolute’s adventures. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America. This book is the story of her life. The people she met, the men in her life, her children, and always about her indefatigable energy for life. Always hoping to return to Jamaica.

Finished The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Richardson.  It’s a novel about the first mobile library in Kentucky (this is the 1930s) and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and, just as importantly, a compassionate human connection.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This book was offered as a bargain book from Bookbub, and something about the description resonated with me – maybe because of my Old Testament readings regarding the lives of shepherds back in ancient days. I utterly loved this book. It might not suit everyone – it’s a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, the son of a farming family, who sabotages everything in his being regarding going to school and leaves as soon as he is able (probably about 8th grade, I’d guess). And becomes a shepherd. And at night, he read literature that he accumulated from his grandfather. He bickers with his father, eventually moves out. One night in a pub with his blokes (friends) he enters some kind of a contest in the pub and realizes he has a lot more knowledge than he thought he did. In time he applies to get what I’d call here in the U.S. a G.E.D (high school diploma), which he does, and then he applies to Oxford, on a whim. And gets in. He graduates. He applies his knowledge to his rural life. He marries, has children, but still, his day to day life is all about his Herdwick sheep, although he does have a day job too working for UNESCO. You’ll learn more about sheep than you might have wanted to know. I absolutely loved, LOVED this book. If you are interested, James Rebanks has a Twitter feed, called @herdyshepherd1, and you can sign up to get updates from him about his farm and his sheep. I don’t do Twitter or I would.

Moloka’i: A Novel by Alan Brennert. A riveting book about the early days of Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) in Hawaii, and the stigma attached to the victims AND their families. It chronicles the story of a young woman, diagnosed almost as a child, and ostracized from her family, subsequently learning to live alone and remote.

House by the Fjord by Rosalind Laker. What a darling story. From amazon: A touching and atmospheric love story – When Anna Harvik travels to Norway in 1946 in order to visit the family of her late husband, the country is only just recovering from five cruel years of Nazi occupation. So it is with surprise that she finds in this cold and bitter country the capacity for new love and perhaps even a new home. I just loved this book – could hardly put it down; yet it’s not a mystery. You’ll come away with a desire to find that house by the fjord. I want to go there and have some coffee with the Anna, who was a Brit, yet fell head over heels in love with Norway.

Running Blind (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child. A Jack Reacher mystery. From amazon: Across the country, women are being murdered, victims of a disciplined and clever killer who leaves no trace evidence, no fatal wounds, no signs of struggle, and no clues to an apparent motive. They are, truly, perfect crimes. Until Jack Reacher gets in the middle of it. A page turner, as are all of the Jack Reacher stories.

Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This story, which takes place in a kind of Texas backwater, sets a town into an angry mess when two young boys, one white, one black, become friends, something most folks don’t like. At all. There’s a dog involved, the father of the black boy, the father of the white boy plus a woman who lives in the town and does her best to avoid people altogether. But they all get fused. Wonderful story.

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. A sweet book, true story, of the author and her friend, during one summer in the midst of their college years, going by train to NYC and ultimately getting a job of Tiffany’s.  Cute read.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. You might think what a stretch – what does an Indian (Native American) tribe have to do with the FBI. Read and you’ll find out. This is back in time, 50s I think, and a number of murders have taken place on the Osage Reservation. A wake up call, even for today.

Oh wow. Just finished reading David Guterson’s book, East of the Mountains. You know this author from his most well known book, Snow Falling on Cedars. I loved the Cedars book when I read it years ago, and assumed I’d like this other book (not new) as well. Have you learned to trust my judgment when I tell you, you HAVE to read a book? If I tell you the story line, I can already hear you thinking . . . oh no, I don’t want to read this kind of a book. Please trust me. You’ll come away from it being glad you did.

A fabulous read – Catherine Ryan Hyde’s newest book, Have You Seen Luis Velez? I marvel sometimes about how authors ever come up with the ideas they do, to create the premise for a novel. And this one is right up there at the top of the list. Raymond, a youngster, an older teenager, who has a big lack of self-confidence and feels like an odd duck sometimes, reluctantly (at first) befriends an elderly woman in the apartment building where he lives with his mother and step-father. He discovers she’s blind and needs some help, which he gives her.

Magic Hour: A Novel

Excellent Women

Pachinko (National Book Award Finalist) by Min Jin Lee

An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club): A Novel by Tayari Jones.

Recently finished Sally Field’s memoir (autobiography) called In Pieces.

If you want grit, well, read Kristen Hannah’s newest book, The Great Alone: A Novel.

You’ve got to read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book – Take Me With You. What a story.  From Amazon’s description: August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go. What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip—and the bonds that develop between them—would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together. Have a tissue handy at the end. It’s such a charming, sweet story. You’ll fall in love with the young boys, and fall in love with them again 10 years later.

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by JoJo Moyes.

Mark of the Lion : A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, As Sure As the Dawn (Vol 1-3) by Francine Rivers.

Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America

Answer As a Man

Celeste Ng Little Fires Everywhere.

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright.

C.J. Box’s book The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel).

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen.

Leaving Blythe River: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyanseo Lee.

The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian.

The Good Widow: A Novel by Lisa Steinke.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes.

How It All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Uncategorized, on November 5th, 2011.

costcopumpkinpie

Most likely half of you already get Costco’s little magazine. If you haven’t noticed, they’ve really upped the ante with the magazine – it’s very informative these days, and I do look through it from cover to cover.

The most current issue shows a photo of Chris Kimball (from Cook’s Illustrated in Boston). They interviewed him, and he talked about how the magazine (meaning the test kitchen) buys lots of things from Costco, and he’s a frequent shopper there too. Also contained in the issue was a one-page article about pumpkin pie. Their pumpkin pie.

So, here are the Costco pumpkin pie facts – per year:

  • They make 4.7 MILLION pumpkin pies
  • They use 6.3 MILLION pounds of canned pumpkin (in #10 cans – each can holds about a quart of pumpkin puree)
  • About 4.8 MILLION pounds of sugar and spices are used
  • About 2 MILLION pounds of fresh whole eggs go into them

torn_sheetAll of the pumpkins are grown and harvested in a 700-acre area near Peoria, Illinois. About 174 truck loads of pumpkins are locally processed into the 1 million #10 cans. Those cans are shipped to all the Costco bakeries across the country. Costco made their first pumpkin pie in 1987 and sold it for $5.99. In 1993 (that’s 18 years ago!) they increased the size of the pie to 12”, but left the price the same. Yea for Costco! And did you know or ever notice that each pie weighs about 3 1/2 POUNDS! Costco pumpkin pies are just as good as I can make them, I think. You’ve read it here before, that I buy their pies every year now and I measure it up against the standard Libby’s, and I think it is right up there. Maybe not the pie crust, but the pie filling for sure.

Below is a picture of the ingredient label on Costco’s pumpkin pie. It says it contains: pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs, enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, ferrous sulfate, niacin, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), canola and/or soybean oil, nonfat milk, corn syrup, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, spices, corn sugar, mono & diglycerides, modified food starch. And down below it says that yes, the pies are produced in a kitchen that also processes peanuts and tree nuts. So not safe for people with nut allergies. Picture of the label – taken November, 2017.

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  1. mike

    said on November 21st, 2012:

    Not exactly everything I would want to know.

    Why does Costco use Soybean and Canola oil? Why is their pie full of GMO corn products… corn sugar, corn syrup, corn starch.

    The recipe has changed a lot over the years. They are not nearly as good as they used to be. I do not know if the old pies in the cardboard boxes measured 12″ or not but the new ones are 11″.

    It’s sad to see the quality of Costco products diminish.

    Well, you’re right about not everything to know . . I only wrote up what I’d read in the Costco magazine. Obviously they’re trying to market the darned things. I didn’t buy them until about 3-4 years ago, and perhaps they did change the recipe. I think they taste fairly close to Libby’s recipe, which is my standard. Since I always feed a fairly big crowd for Thanksgiving, and I appreciate helpers – I’m glad for any/all assistance. One year our daughter bought these pies and I decided we weren’t going back to home made. Thanksgiving Dinner is such a labor-intensive meal (for me) that I have decided to cut some corners here and there. As for the GMO corn stuff – you’re absolutely right. I’d prefer not to eat them, but the option is make my own. Or buy them somewhere else, but I like Costco’s attempt to make theirs taste like the much-loved Libby’s. . . carolyn t

  2. Rebecca

    said on November 21st, 2014:

    I second Mike’s comment. Why is Costco’s pie full of cheap oils and GMO ingredients? Quality certainly has gone down.

    This year I bought a Costco pie a couple of weeks ago and I noticed that it contained some gritty ingredients – don’t know if it was a smidgen of stem, or seeds? Have no idea. I’ve not encountered that before. But then I went to someone else’s home and they served it also. And guess what? It had some of that gritty stuff in it too. I suppose I should complain. I’m disappointed. . . carolyn t

  3. M.A.Andrews

    said on November 22nd, 2014:

    Do Costco pumpkin pies have High Fructose Corn syrup in them? Thank you.

    I don’t know for sure. I rather doubt it, but don’t quote me. I’d have to look at the label. Next time I’m in Costco I’ll look, if I can remember to do it . .. .carolyn t

  4. Austin

    said on October 16th, 2015:

    Are you suppose to cook them.

    No, Costco’s pumpkin pies are already baked, and ready to eat. . . carolyn t

  5. Jay

    said on December 26th, 2015:

    http://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-drink/costco-has-pumpkin-pies-down-to-a-science/

    I enjoyed reading that. I wouldn’t be surprised if Costco makes more than a million pies these days. . . carolyn t

  6. Jeff

    said on October 3rd, 2016:

    Our family has loved these pies for years. I noticed the last 2 years the pies seemed undercooked. I was wondering if I could rebake it???

    I’m sure you could. Not more than 15 minutes. At about 300 degrees. That’s just a guess. . . Carolyn T

  7. eilene crosier

    said on October 4th, 2016:

    i bought a Costco pumpkin pie today dated best before Oct. 6, 2016. Should it be frozen if were’re not eating it until oct. 10th? Thank you.

    It will be fine until the 10th

  8. Rhonda

    said on October 6th, 2016:

    Wondering why they add sulphites and carrageenan to the pumpkin pie? My mom is sensitive to sulphites and some research suggests none of us should be eating carageenan. Too bad, because it’s a nice looking pie, but I we won’t be eating it, or getting another until the recipe changes for the better.

    I had no idea they added those things. Too bad. . . Carolyn T

  9. sherry lacorte

    said on October 8th, 2016:

    Does your pumpkin pie contain dairy? I read that dry
    ingredients are added to the pumpkin mix, along with eggs,
    but you do not say what is in the dry ingredients. We love
    the pie but can no longer eat lactose so need to know
    whether dairy is contained in the pie.

    I’m sorry – I don’t know. Why don’t you call your local Costco and ask them – or contact their corporate people. I THINK they make them at hundreds of their different bakery kitchens. . . carolyn t

  10. Cyci

    said on November 16th, 2016:

    What are the dry spices in costco pumpkin pie?

    If, in fact, Costco’s pie is a mimic of Libby’s, then they use cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Nothing else. I don’t have the label to look at, so I’m not sure. If I buy one in the next week, I’ll look to see if they define which ones. . . carolyn t

  11. Reading suzy

    said on November 24th, 2016:

    My goodness! If you have so many questions about Costco pumpkin pies you should just make your own. But be sure to make your own crust and not Pillsbury, because that is probably full of the same stuff you don’t like about Costco pies. Filling is pumpkin puree, spices and fresh eggs, made fresh at each Costco store.

    I love Costco pumpkin pies – have for many many years and had them again this year. So much easier than making them myself. Even though the crust isn’t home made, it’s gosh darned good. . . sure never intended to imply I didn’t like them, cuz I do. . . carolyn t

  12. Theo

    said on January 7th, 2017:

    Obviously a frozen pie…tastes OK but the texture is always a problem for me. Why can’t they just make nice fresh pies and charge what that actually costs???

    I don’t understand your comment – Costco’s pumpkin pies aren’t frozen. To the best of my knowledge, they’re made fresh almost every day during prime season from Oct-Dec. And, the big pie is very inexpensive, in my opinion at about $6. . . carolyn t

  13. Mel

    said on October 25th, 2017:

    Just bought a Costco pumpkin pie, haven’t purchase one for several years…but I was really looking forward to a slice. Extremely disappointed! What did they do to their delicious pumpkin pie??? It used to be as good as mine…but no longer 🙁

    Oh my goodness! I haven’t tried one since last fall, 2016. They’ll likely get lots of complaints, so hopefully they’ll go back to the usual recipe. . . carolyn t

  14. Doug

    said on November 15th, 2017:

    Does Costco usually continue baking pumpkin pies up to Thanksgiving Day or even to the end of the year?

    My local Costco sells pumpkin pie about 4-5 months of the year, through January 1st, for sure. Don’t know about every one of them, however. . . carolyn t

  15. Mary Lou

    said on November 17th, 2017:

    Is the filling gluten free?

    Hmmm. I think so, but don’t quote me on that. I don’t a pie here to check – the label should be specific about what’s in the crust and what’s in the filling. . . carolyn t

  16. Judy

    said on November 18th, 2017:

    What are the dimensions of the pumpkin pie? I have to refrigerate it to transport it to my dinner destination and don’t know if it will fit in my cooler.

    Oh, goodness, I don’t know. But it’s BIG. Probably at least 13 inches square, maybe 13 1/2. I’m not sure. I guess I DON’T know everything there is to know about that pie!! . . . carolyn t

  17. Colette

    said on November 21st, 2017:

    Can I cut out a slice or two in advance of my company if I don’t care what the pie looks like? Will it change the consistency for the remaining refrigerated pieces? We’re only having a couple of people and there’s plenty of pie to start eating now. Thanks!

    Definitely, you can. The pumpkin filling is quite firm and holds up well . . . carolyn t

  18. Pies are great but how many calories are in it

    said on November 22nd, 2017:

    How many calories

    A slice that’s 1 1/2″ wide at the edge is 310 calories. That’s small, so I’d guess more, and if you add whipped cream (I do, for sure) then it’s probably well over 400 calories. If you don’t eat the crust you’ll be reducing a good percentage of the calories, but heck, that’s no fun! They base the calories on each pie cut into 12 slices. . . carolyn t

  19. Steve fenner

    said on November 22nd, 2017:

    Love it

  20. Steve fenner

    said on November 22nd, 2017:

    Love those pies how many calories?

    Each 1 1/2″ wide slice is 310 calories. That’s smaller than a standard slice, so I’d guess it’s probably over 400 calories for a 2″ slice. Then there’s whipped cream. They base the calories on each pie serving 12 people . . . . carolyn t

  21. John

    said on November 22nd, 2017:

    My wife and I were discussing pumpkin pie and the question rose about where and when and how they are prepared. Are they prepared in advance and frozen and baked in the store? Who makes the crust or is it mixed up in the store? Basically, do they make pies from scratch in each store or what?

    When I wrote up this post, Costco was making everything from scratch in their regional kitchens. I haven’t heard anything to the contrary, but then, I’m not really privy to the inner workings of their procurement and products. I do not believe they freeze them (there would be deterioration of the crusts for sure). They make tens of thousands of them, that I know! . . . carolyn t

  22. Meherunisa p

    said on November 23rd, 2017:

    Please send me all ingredients as I am allergic to lard.

    They don’t use lard. If you go to my post about the pie, you’ll now see a photo of the ingredient list. . . carolyn t

  23. daniel

    said on November 29th, 2017:

    no lard.

    Thank you, Daniel! I visited Costco yesterday and snapped a photo of the ingredient list, which I’ve now added to my post about Costco’s pumpkin pies. And you’re right, no lard. I didn’t think so! . . . carolyn t

  24. Mark

    said on December 12th, 2017:

    Over the Holiday season we usually buy between 4 to 6 of these pies for different parties and gatherings. However, the last two pies purchased were severely under cooked. Today I am going to return the remains of the 2nd pie. (All but two pieces) We are very very disappointed.

    You are the 2nd person to tell me that they thought Costco’s bakeries aren’t doing such a good job anymore. I haven’t purchased one this year, so can’t comment about it. The other person felt they’d used some other combo of ingredients (poorer quality pumpkin, for instance). They commented that the pie didn’t taste the same. Thanks for the heads up, Mark. . . carolyn t

  25. Wendy

    said on January 3rd, 2018:

    I believe, Steve, that the calories are figured on a slice that is 1/12 of the pie, not on a 1½” slice.

  26. Linda

    said on November 13th, 2018:

    can you freeze the pumpkin pies?

    Well, you probably CAN, but I don’t know that the crust will be all that great when defrosted. If you only froze it for a day or two, no problem. I’d cover the pie with plastic wrap, pressed against the filling itself, then wrap it all in foil. Good luck! . . . carolyn t

  27. Khadija

    said on November 24th, 2018:

    Do you know the source of the mono and diglycerides? Thanks!

    I have no idea – sorry about that. . . carolyn t

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