If you’re looking for something unique to grace this year’s Thanksgiving table, we’ve got just the thing: a potato pie from 1653 with a saucy history. This recipe comes from the volume *A True Gentlewomans Delight: Wherein is contained all manner of Cookery: Together with Preserving, Conserving, Drying and Candying, Very necessary for all Ladies and Gentlewomen.*\n\nWhat a mouthful. But that title was devised for people who wanted to eat like the upper crust. The recipes are attributed to Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent. She was in the entourage of two English queens and was also known for her medicinal remedies. After Lady Grey died, a London publisher decided to put out what he claimed to be a collection of her recipes—although they were probably written by her cook. In any case, this particular pie made use of an exciting new vegetable that had just recently arrived on English shores: the potato.\n\nPotatoes had been cultivated on the American continents for millennia, but Europeans got their first taste of the tuber in the 1500s as exploration across the Atlantic took off. Though English recipes from the period refer simply to “potatoes,” they probably meant what we today call sweet potatoes. And they weren’t just appealing because they were new and delicious. Potatoes were also valued for their…ahem…sexual properties.\n\nThat’s right, folks: the English thought potatoes were aphrodisiacs. Writers of the time delighted in making bawdy potato puns, including William Shakespeare. In *The Merry Wives of Windsor* the comical character Falstaff declares, “Let the sky rain potatoes!” as he meets two women for a tryst during a rainstorm. The mention of spuds wasn’t just about the downpour but served as a sly reference to his seductive intentions.\n\nBut back to Lady Grey’s recipe. It’s actually a lot like a modern sweet potato pie, but with some historical additions that really make it stand out. **[A Potato Pie for Supper]**\n\n*Take three pound of boyled and blanched Potatoes, and 3 Nutmegs, and half an ounce of Cinnamon beaten together, and three ounces of Sugar, season your Potatoes, and put them in your Pie, then take the marrow of three bones, rouled in yolks of Eggs, and sliced Lemon, and large Mace, and half a pound of butter, six Dates quartered, put this into your pie, and let it stand an hour in the oven; then make a sharp caudle of butter, Sugar, Verjuyce, and white Wine, put it in when you take your Pie out of the oven.*\n\n\n : https://archive.org/details/truegentlewomans00kent/page/116/mode/2up OK, so there are some weird things that jump out. Three whole nutmegs? Half a pound of butter?! BONE MARROW IN A PIE???!!!\n\nAnd making this recipe isn’t as straightforward as it appears. Though it might seem specific on amounts, measurements were not universally standardized like they are today. In addition, the quality of ingredients was different: spices weren’t as pungent, eggs were smaller, produce was tougher, and certain ingredients like verjuice (a tart flavoring agent made from sour grapes) were readily available—though good luck finding that at Trader Joe’s. And Lady Grey assumes that her readers would already know how to make a caudle…or at least know what a caudle is (it’s basically a thickened sauce).\n\nThe thing is, to adapt historical recipes, you need to take some interpretive liberties. In our version, we’ve left out the bone marrow to keep it simple and vegetarian (but if you can track it down, feel free to add it for fatty richness). We’ve opted for lemon zest in the pie rather than lemon slices and used lemon juice in place of verjuice. Mace, a spice derived from the same seed as nutmeg, is available in many big grocery stores, but feel free to omit or replace it with allspice.\n\nWhat’s special about this recipe is the inclusion of dates and the white wine caudle. Traditionally, caudle was a hot, sweet drink thickened with oatmeal, ground almonds, bread crumbs, or egg yolks. We’ve decided to just combine the ingredients listed in the recipe for a delicious sweet and tangy sauce. Today we would serve this pie for dessert, but early modern Europeans didn’t always distinguish between sweet and savory—hence a potato pie for supper!\n\nThis recipe is just one of thousands in the [Anne Willan and Mark Cherniavsky Gastronomy Collection at the Getty Research Institute]. The archive includes cookbooks that date all the way back to the 15th century—and the best part is, many of them are digitized and [available online via the Internet Archive.]\n\n\n : https://www.getty.edu/research/special_collections/notable/willan_cherniavsky.html\n : https://archive.org/details/getty ### A Potato Pie for Supper (adapted for the modern cook)\n\n**Ingredients:**\n\n*For the pie:*\n\n - 1 pie crust \n - 2 sweet potatoes \n - 4 Tbsp unsalted butter\n - 2 Tbsp sugar\n - Zest of 1 lemon\n - ½ tsp cinnamon\n - ¼ tsp nutmeg\n - ¼ tsp mace\n - 2 egg yolks\n - 6–8 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped \n\n*For the sauce:*\n\n - Juice of 1 lemon\n - ¼ cup white wine\n - 2 Tbsp sugar\n - 4 Tbsp butter\n\n*1. Prebake the pie crust:*\n\n - Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.\n - Prick the sides and bottom of the pie crust all over with a fork so they don’t puff up.\n - Bake for about 13 minutes, until the bottom is golden.\n - Let cool.\n\n*2. Make the pie:*\n\n - Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.\n - Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into large pieces.\n - Boil the potatoes until tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork, about 10–15 minutes.\n - Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large mixing bowl. \n - Mash the potatoes.\n - Add butter, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.\n - Once the potatoes are cooled to room temperature, add the egg yolks and mix well.\n - Fold in the dates.\n - Pour the filling into the pie crust, smoothing the top with the back of a spatula.\n - Cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil so they don’t burn.\n - Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and toasty. \n - Let pie cool for about 10 minutes before serving.\n\n*3. Make the sauce:*\n\n - Combine lemon juice, white wine, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan. \n - Bring to a boil over low heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. \n - Remove from heat and drizzle over slices of pie.