Longenecker house near Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania


The Rentzel family lived next door to my childhood home on Anchor Road. If you’ve read my first memoir, Mennonite Daughter, you may remember the shenanigans that happened under their roof. After I left home to explore the wider world, another family moved into the Rentzel house, probably in the early 1990s. Aptly, the Farmer family name reflects the agricultural landscape of Lancaster County in southeastern Pennsylvania. Paul Farmer’s daughter Erica, now married, contacted me via Facebook messenger in early November 2022, inquiring about my mother’s “famous” pumpkin pie recipe. She must have sampled its goodness when my mother delivered a pie to their home, probably just before Thanksgiving.

At first, I told her I didn’t have it, but then I checked in a decades’ old recipe file and found the crumpled-up pie recipe which I’ve included here.


I recognized my own handwriting, but there is no acknowledgement that the recipe is Mom’s. However, it has all the hallmarks of a “Mom” recipe with plenty of sugar and butter. I also have a dim memory of her cracking eggs when she made pumpkin pie. This scrap of paper is an antique, probably over fifty years old. This is how it looks now!



When I sent Erica an image of this battered recipe, she immediately responded: “That’s it! It was very custardy with the eggs added.”

As you can see, the recipe in handwritten (my own handwriting) not dated, but gives evidence of hard use: crumpled and imprinted with the outline of a bowl, maybe tinctured with coffee stains. It could win a prize for Most Worn-out Family Recipe.

I have typed out the recipe here legibly in case you may want to use it for your own Thanksgiving feast. You may notice, Mother didn’t include directions for a pie crust.

Mother Ruth Longenecker’s Pumpkin Pie

1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin

1 cup whole milk

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 eggs beaten

1 Tbsp. butter

Combine ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour into pie pan. Bake in hot oven (425 degrees) about one hour and fifteen minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream. If desired, 1/2 cup raisins may be added to pie filling.


My Pie Baking


Pumpkin rind very tough, so need hubby’s help especially with the first cut



Happy Thanksgiving!


Want more recipes with stories?

Kitchen Table Stories: Sharing Our Lives in Food 2002 Story Circle Network


Here’s the link. You’ll find three of my stories included!


Do you have any crumpled recipes you treasure from days of yore?

Will pumpkin pie be on your menu this season?