Spice Trader’s Pumpkin Pie

Now for something completely different: My recipe for a fragrant autumnal squash tart.

Pumpkin pie cooling on a counter

Chill a 9″ pie crust.

In a small bowl, mix:

  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp cloves (ground)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Beat two large eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in one can (15 oz) of pumpkin purée and the spice mixture.

Thoroughly stir in one can (14 oz) of condensed milk and two tablespoons of sour cream. Then stir in one tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into the chilled 9″ pie crust.

Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425°F. Then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the pie fully inflates (forming a dome with no depression in the center).

Turn the oven off, but leave it for 15 minutes with the door cracked open, so that the pie slowly deflates without cratering. Then remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for two more hours before refrigerating it. Chill the pie for at least 12 hours before serving.

This recipe produces a dense but silky pie with understated sweetness and a strong spice flavor.

Why I’m Still Thankful I Teach in the Age of Trump

Two years ago at Thanksgiving, I wrote about my gratitude for the ways Donald Trump’s America had become a great place to teach history. I think what I wrote has held up well.

This year, after another general election—and during a mismanaged pandemic that has already killed some of my friends’ relatives, made the death of one of my friends (from other causes) lonelier and more surreal, forced some students to drop my courses because they couldn’t function for weeks after they were infected, and made effective teaching at any level all but impossible—I’m taking stock again.

It takes more effort to write it this time. But here’s why I’m still thankful I get to teach history in the age of Donald Trump.

Continue reading “Why I’m Still Thankful I Teach in the Age of Trump”

Why I’m Thankful I Teach in the Age of Trump


This is a cross-post of today’s content on Teaching United States History, where I am blogging during the current academic year.

The 2016 election launched countless anxious responses from American academics. Many instructors reworked their syllabuses. Some worried about being targeted for harassment. Many became more explicit in the classroom about their political views. A creative writing professor, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, declared that “expanding the study of history could be an essential bulwark against the rising tide of misinformation, manipulation, and lies.”

“On a superficial level,” wrote Frank Cogliano, who teaches in Scotland, “Trump’s good for the business of teaching history. We’ve got more students than ever in our courses. … One of the unforeseen consequences of his election is that there’s probably not been a time in recent memory when it has been more to vital to be an historian.”

As others pointed out, though, there was nothing really new about the urgency of U.S. history in the age of Trump. What was new, perhaps, was the attention white Americans were paying. As my fellow Teaching U.S. History contributor Robert Greene observed this summer, “African Americans have led the way in this fight for over a century, refusing to yield to an explicitly white supremacist interpretation of the past.”

My modest contribution to this genre in the summer of 2017 was to argue a bit peevishly that the main job of college history teachers hadn’t changed at all.

* * *

Now two years have passed, and another general election has taken place in the United States, altering the political scene a bit. And this is the week of Thanksgiving. So I’m going to take stock and give thanks for one of the blessings I’ve received.

Continue reading “Why I’m Thankful I Teach in the Age of Trump”