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Giving Thanks Through the Joy of Mango Pie

For this Thanksgiving holiday, musician Hrishikesh Hirve, host of the podcast “Song Exploder,” offers his thoughts on the common traditions that bring us together:


Before I was born, my parents didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, not until my sister and I came into their lives. Suddenly, these Indian immigrants had Americans for children.

And in the early ’80s, after making turkeys out of construction paper at school, I asked if we could have Thanksgiving dinner. And he said yes.

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Hrishikesh Hirve and his parents. His family embraced American traditions of Thanksgiving, while creating some of their own.

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My dad learned how to cook turkey, and we invited some of our family friends – other Indian families. So, apart from the stuffing and mashed potatoes, we had a full Indian potluck.

The next year, we did it again, and that was it: It became a tradition.

A few years later, my mom introduced a special dessert to the menu: Mango Pie. It was made from the pulp of the Alphonso mango, which you can really only find in Indian grocery stores. It’s imported in these big aluminum cans, and it has a bright, punchy, sweetness.

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She’ll soften that flavor by mixing it with Cool Whip and cream cheese for the custard filling; Then, she’ll put it in a graham cracker crust.

It was the best dessert I’ve ever had, and still is.

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Hrishikesh Hirway prepares his mother’s Mango Pie Recipe.

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process: foot handle

In 2020, a week before Thanksgiving, my mom passed away after years of illness. We could not gather with others for his last rites. It was really tough, and Thanksgiving that year just didn’t feel like Thanksgiving.

But last year, my wife and I hosted Thanksgiving again Our House. And I made my mom’s mango pie. For me, it’s a way to remember her, and a way to share my upbringing with others.

One wonderful thing that happened before my mom passed away was that my friend Samin Nosrat, chef and author, wrote an article about my mom’s pie for The New York Times. She made a delicious version of my mother’s humble recipe, and it got published right there under my mother’s name.

And all of a sudden people everywhere were making mango pie.

I’m still trying to find ways to share this little piece of my mom’s story with the world. This year, the wonderful Portland ice cream company, Salt & Straw, is creating a flavor of ice cream based on her recipe. It’s called Mom’s Mango Pie.

My mother, like so many other mothers, made me who I am through food. She brought joy to my life and to other people’s lives through her cooking. And for that I will be forever grateful.

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Kanta and Hrishikesh Hirway.

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for more information:


Story produced by Amol Mhatre. Editor: Mike Levin.


check it out “Sunday Morning” 2022 Food Issue Recipe Index For more menu suggestions, from all the chefs, cookbook authors, flood writers and restaurants featured on our show.

and head New York Times Cooking For more delicious Thanksgiving recipes.

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