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Carolyn

Sara

Sara and me

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Just finished reading 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. Tiko tolerates Joanna’s husband Mike. Joanna and Tiko bonded. But it took years. This parrot breed mates for life, and Joanna is definitely Tiko’s mate. They acquired Tiko when he was already 30 years old (they live up to age 80 or so), hence it took a long time for Tiko to decide that Joanna could be trusted. This book is just so charming, and interesting. The author weaves into the story lots of facts about parrots in general, this type of parrot, as well as a variety of other birds she has studied. She’s an author of many other books about birds (scholarly works). She’s a professor and world-renowned researcher at Rutgers. I’m not a birder, but I do love books about the relationships between birds and people. If you know someone who loves birds, they’d definitely enjoy this book.

Also finished reading 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 heroine in this book is called a blue-skin, a genetic mutation that causes the skin to be dark indigo blue. In rural Kentucky, most of the blue-skins were shamed and caused fright in people who saw them. The author decided to share this rare condition in the book and it wove its tentacles into many of the relationships the hard-working librarian made.  Partly the book is about library books, booklets, recipes, but mostly as it says above, it’s about the connections the librarian made with remote people who went weeks or more without seeing another human being. Very unusual book about the hardships endured in that time, but the hardship and bravery of the librarians who went out day in and day out, often for 2-3 days at a time to deliver books.

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 about attending further education 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. I could hardly put it down. 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. You yearn to hug her, comfort her. Yet she finds eventually happiness and peace. A beautiful book worth reading. Was a book club read.

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. If you like Hyde’s novels, for the month of September many of her books are available on Kindle at a very reduced price ($1.99 and $.99 each). Go grab them while they’re available. I just purchased 6 of her books. 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. This took place in the 40s, and at the time no women were ever seen on the showroom floors, but these two pretty young women were the harbinger of equality, though none of that comes into play here. They were “runners,” who whisked orders and money to and fro from the salesMEN to the office. They stood in silence near the elevators on the ground floor and waited for a sale to take place. They lived in cramped quarters. They enjoyed everything NYC had to offer them at the time, and they were wowed by an occasional celebrity sighting. 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. No one can seem to solve them, and those who try also get caught in the crossfire. Finally a man is brought in from back East. That’s where the inception of the FBI comes into play, though there was no FBI then. This is a very interesting read, probably sufficient info to do a book club read. A book everyone should read if you know little (or a lot) about the abominable treatment given to the Native Americans over the last several hundred years. 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? When 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. It tells the tale of a 70ish man, a widower, who has been diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. He’s a retired physician, knows the scenario of death by cancer, and doesn’t want to do it. He decides he’s going to take a bird hunting trip, east of the mountains in Washington State (Guterson writes a lot about his part of the world), with his two dogs, and he’ll commit suicide. He sets up an elaborate ruse with his children and grandchildren, and heads out. All of this, so far, takes place in the first 10 pages of the book. First he has an accident in his car, and that sets off a cavalcade of incidents. You’ll learn a whole lot about flora and fauna (one of Guterson’s writing attributes). You’ll learn a lot about apple and pear orchards, which abound in eastern Washington (I’ve been there, it’s beautiful, pastoral and full of fruit). Flashbacks of his life story are interspersed throughout, his growing up on an apple farm, meeting his wife, his service in WWII, their reuniting after the war and the life they had. You’ll learn some about his cancer pain, the grief of his wife’s death 5 years prior, and about his resolve to end it all. Please don’t NOT read this because  you’ll think it’s depressing. It is and it isn’t. It’s so much more for the better. And I just read, this book is being made into a movie.

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. Then he discovers that there is a lot more to know and understand about this elderly little lady down the hall and he begins a journey to try to find someone for her, the Luis Velez of the title. If you want to use coming-of-age to describe this, that’s partly true. He learns all about himself, the abilities he didn’t know he had, the kindness that lives within him that he never realized was there, and the friends he makes along the way who make some life-changing differences in his young life. He discovers he has some gifts that he can give to others, something most teenagers don’t understand. I can’t recommend this book highly enough – it’s a bit of a tear-jerker, but for every good reason and moral character trait described in the book. It’s there.

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. A

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. W

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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