Jack LaLanne believed in exercise.  He died just shy of his 97th birthday.  For decades he hosted television programs where he led an audience through calisthenics and spoke about a healthy diet.  On his 93rd birthday he appeared on a TV show where an interviewer suggested LaLanne must really like exercise.

“I hate it,” he replied.  “I haven’t had a piece of cake since 1931!”  LaLanne obviously missed cake.  The surprised host sputtered and then asked why he lived such a Spartan lifestyle.

My mother made a legendary pecan pie but I don’t recall developing a taste for it until I was a teenager.

“I’m 93,” he said as if annoyed.  “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here talking with you”.

I’m not sure how LaLanne would’ve gotten through Thanksgiving dinner with my family.  There were usually two weekend dinners.  One with each side of my family (maternal and paternal).  Some years we hosted.  Some years we were on the road.  The food on the table was like nothing else I saw over the course of the year.  Everything from stuffed mushrooms to glazed beats to multiple types of squash.  There weren’t cakes but there was a counter lined with homemade pies.  Several were pumpkin, a few apple and always some strawberry rhubarb.  The latter two were my favorites. I only developed a taste for pumpkin as an adult.

My mother made a legendary pecan pie but I don’t recall developing a taste for it until I was a teenager.  I like pecan pie but can only eat a sliver of a serving.  It’s a little too rich for anything else.  My family also pronounces it pee-khan.

Its’ truly an American delicacy.  The Englishman Laurence Brown has lived in the USA for almost 15 years.  In the following video, he explains pecan pie was as much a revelation as Thanksgiving (his country has no such holiday).