President Obama's avowed love for pie is now well known, and six different kinds of pie will be the extravagant finish to the First Family's Thanksgiving feast on Thursday at the White House. According to Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, the President's favorite pie is Banana Cream--which will be served. But in 1979 when he was a Freshman at Occidental College in Los Angeles, the young Mr. Obama went home with his roommate Paul Carpenter for Thanksgiving dinner, and he reportedly fell in love with mom Alice Carpenter's Coconut Chiffon Pumpkin Pie. (Above: The President as a Freshman in 1980)
"Barry," as he was known at the time, spent the holiday with the Carpenter family in Claremont, CA, because he couldn't afford a plane ticket to go home to Hawaii to visit his grandparents. That's the story according to Oxy, the college's online newssite, which has newly posted details of the President's first college Thanksgiving, and the pre-presidential love affair with pie. Also posted is Mrs. Carpenter's recipe, now known as "Barry's Favorite."
"He did love my mom's apple pie and her coconut chiffon pumpkin pie," Paul Carpenter said.
Apple Pie is also on the Obama White House Thanksgiving menu, as is a version of Pumpkin Pie that is a bit less fancy than Mrs. Carpenter's. Her recipe sounds delicious, and perhaps the toasted coconut topping reminded Barry of Hawaii. The future President, who transitioned to using the name "Barack" during his two years at Occidental, later transferred to Columbia University in New York and graduated in 1983 with a political science degree. But before that, he made repeat visits to the Carpenter home.
Barry "had gracious manners and was very warm," recalled Mrs. Carpenter. Dad Chuck Carpenter praised the young Obama as "just a wonderful young man, just a very fine young man. Polite, personable."
"All those memories are fond,” said Paul Carpenter, who is now a lawyer practicing in Los Angeles. "My mother loves him. He was unassuming, easygoing and good-natured. Those were fun times."
Cherry, Huckleberry, and Sweet Potato Pie will also be served on the First Family's Thanksgiving menu. Click here for the full menu with recipes. "Barry's Favorite" would make a perfect addition.
"Barry's Favorite" Coconut Chiffon Pumpkin Pie
By Alice Carpenter
2/3 Cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
3/4 Cup milk
3 egg whites
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
1/3 cup sugar
1 9-inch graham cracker crust (use recipe on graham cracker box)
1/2 Cup whipped cream
3/4 Cup flaked toasted coconut
1. Mix first five ingredients
2. Stir in egg yolks and milk
3. Cook and stir over low heat until slightly thickened
4. Stir in pumpkin
5. Chill until mixture mounds slightly when spooned
6. Beat egg whites to soft peaks
7. Gradually add 1/3 Cup sugar, beating to stiff peaks
8. Fold into pumpkin mixture
9. Pile into chilled pie crust, chill until firm
To serve, top with whipped cream and toasted coconut.
Mom says: "Enjoy!"
*Makes one 9-inch pie
*Thanks to Oxy News
*Photos of President Obama by Lisa Jack, taken at Occidental in 1980 when he was a Freshman, published originally by Time as a photo essay "Obama: The College Years"