One -Pie squash or pumpkin puree was always my choice for pumpkin pie filling….long before I moved to Maine and subsequently to the town where it was actually canned. This was at at the Medomak Canning Company in Winslow’s Mills area of Waldoboro.
There was always something about the vintage inspired label, unchanged for decades, that attracted me. Seems nothing could surpass One-Pie for the satiny custard I craved. It’s New England’s unofficial brand, where taste meets tradition. It’s the can we reach for when the spice scented holidays arrive, just like our mothers and grandmothers did.
Doing a bit of research, I’ve found that the Medomak Canning Company was an offshoot of a Rockland canning company called the John Bird Company. It was he who build the Waldoboro canning facility that so many of us remember. Understanding the power of imagery and label recognition, it was also Mr. Bird who gave us that unforgettable label!
When I first moved to the coast of Maine in the 80’s, the canning factory was still intact, although closed for years. I was in the restaurant business then, and when the factory did finally get pieced out, a customer gifted me their iconic sign, which I still treasure. It hangs in my home kitchen to this day.
I’ve always been a loyal customer but realized that I didn’t know much about the brand. I did find, with a wave of relief, that it is still distributed in West Paris, Maine, although it’s now canned in the state of Illinois. Gone are the glory days of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s when One-Pie was one of hundreds of canning companies that processed the surplus of Maine farmers and fishermen. I recall one of my friends, Jane, a Morse of Waldoboro’s Sauerkraut farming fame, reminiscing about her childhood. She recalls picking pumpkins in her Grandmother Ethelyn’s field. These were earmarked for the One-Pie factory, which is where many farmers’ surplus crops landed. Local canning factories also processed beans, corn, peas, sardines and pumpkins or squash.
I for one, feel fortunate to have some of these One-Pie memories….and to live in Maine where it’s still on the shelf, like it always has been. I hear that one can on Amazon costs $10!
NEW ENGLAND PUMPKIN PIE
1 can ONE-PIE Pumpkin
1 tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, freshly ground
1/2 tsp Salt (scant)
1-1/2 tbsp Butter (melted)
1-1/2 cups Milk or one 12 oz can of Evaporated Milk
1 cup Sugar
1/8 cup Molasses
2 Eggs (beaten)
– Lemon Juice
Sift sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together. Mix this with contents of one can ONE-PIE pumpkin. Add eggs, beaten, melted butter, molasses and milk. Add a dash of lemon juice (if desired). Line a 9 inch pie plate, pour in contents. Preheat over and bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350° and continue to bake for 50 minutes.