Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How Sweet It Is: Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

"How sweet it is!" I have heard this exclamation from the lips of my father countless times whe he savors the sight, smell and taste of a favorite dessert. Savor is the word. Never have I seen my dad gobble, he can make a slice of pie last 15 minutes. Enjoying each bite, celebrating each tasty morsel and the company of those around him. In this, and in many things, my dad shows us how to live the journey.

Tomorrow we will gather around the table with some new things. New family members, new jobs, and for my father a new diagnosis: brain cancer. Sporting a serious scar and 24 staples in his cranium, Dad is still embracing the moments and savoring the gifts therein. So much is unknown about what lies ahead. Sitting at the head of the table, digesting the information from websites and doctors' reports, Dad suggests we take it one phase at a time. So we will. Celebrating the sweetness to be found in each moment: love, warm hugs, good doctors, soup from friends, prayers offered and a most holy presence lying deep within the soul. Glory Be.

Here is a recipe I want to share for a variation of pumpkin pie. It was found in the margins of Grandma's cookbook. I had to assume or make up some of it as Grandma's instructions were somewhat abbreviated. I hope whatever desserts you enjoy for your Thanksgiving feast taste are thoroughly enjoyed, one bite at a time.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 qt ice cream

Mix above ingredients and pour into graham cracker crust. Freeze until 20 minutes before serving.

With a grateful heart,


  1. And I savor your writing and in this case, the tender connections you make with your dad (whom I also savor). --jym

  2. Love this reflection of your dad enjoying life and dessert and family. Makes me remember my Kansas dad's influence and love of life and food and family as well. May you all enjoy being together around your Thanksgiving table this year.

    Such a great blog!

    Thought of you today as I chopped and peeled the pumpkins to make seven pies from the recipe on p. 377 :-)

  3. Ellen, a great thanksgiving tribute to a great father. Deep affection to you all, Willard (Roth)

  4. Thanks for this wonderful posting and update. I've been thinking and praying for Gene, Mary and the entire Herr family. I give thanks for the gift of Gene and Mary in my life over the past 22 years. May we all continue to savor the blessings of each day through the love of each other. Sr. Shirley Bell

  5. Willard Roth?! The same Willard and Alice Roth I knew in Scottdale PA? If so, greetings! You were my youth advisors at Market Street Mennonite. I have fond memories of Alice helping me think through some earnest teenage angsts :-). Chances are my name does not ring a bell, but you would have known my dad, Dan Kauffman. What fun to connect through this great little blog.
    And one more comment to Ellen: Are you really the daughter of Gene and Mary Herr? How lovely that your post about your dad caused me to reflect on mine, because I'm pretty sure our dads knew each other well. Small world. I've been enjoying your blog all along and had no idea. Should have known, being Mennonite and all, that we would be linked in some way beyond ownership of the same cookbook. :-).

  6. what a beautiful picture you paint! So grateful that your dad is able to experience the joy in the moment. He's something! and so are you for the special care daughters seem able to give.

    Keith Esch

  7. Thanks for the lovely comments. And yes, my parents are Gene and Mary Herr. Lots of connections to be made!

  8. Maureen "Mo"January 10, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    hi ellen! i am a friend of your parents from michigan and i love them both dearly. i found your lovely blog when i was trying to find the caring bridge for your dad. i've heard a lot about you and your beautiful daughters over the years. i'm sure you have the same deep strength your mother has. loved your thanksgiving reflection. be assured of my prayers and blessings for your entire family. maureen hall "mo"