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When I went to work as a secretary in Procter & Gamble’s corporate offices, they were located in the old Gwynne Building on Sixth and Main Streets in downtown Cincinnati.  The 12-story Gwynne Building was completed in 1914 and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt (wife of Cornelius III) dedicated it to her father, prominent Cincinnati lawyer and Judge, Abraham Gwynne. Procter & Gamble leased the building and eventually purchased it in 1935. The building served as Procter & Gamble’s corporate headquarters until 1956.  When I went to work there in 1950, on the ground floor was a Dow drugstore and an Italian restaurant.   The drugstore was handy for a quick candy bar or soft drink and when the girls got together for drinks after work, they usually chose the Italian restaurant (whiskey sours were a favorite).

The Gwynne Building - P&G's corporate offices from 1914-1956

The Gwynne Building – P&G’s corporate offices from 1914-1956

On the 12th floor of the building was a huge employee dining room.  I liked to choose a one-person table near a window where I could have a gorgeous panoramic view of the city while I ate the wonderful food that was served.  Maybe because of the Crisco connection, they always offered an array of pies which was excellent.  I had my first taste of pecan pie here and it was memorable.  After I left the company to start my family (most women did not continue working after their first baby at that time), I tried several recipes, trying to duplicate the P&G cafeteria pecan pie.  In the 1970s, I found this recipe in Dear Abby’s column in the newspaper and I thought it came closest to what I was looking for.  It’s been a family favorite ever since – often included with our Thanksgiving pies.  This is an easy pie to make.

ABBY’S PECAN PIE

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (cooled)
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (my favorite is here
  • 1 cup pecan halves and pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix together the light corn syrup and dark brown sugar.
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Whisk in the eggs, salt, vanilla and cooled melted butter.

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Pour into the unbaked pie shell and sprinkle pecans evenly over the top of the filling.
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Place on a flat sheet to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

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This is a specialty of the house recipe from the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky.  I begged this from the pastry chef to share with you.  Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)”

Servings:  6 to 8.  This is a very rich pie and a smaller piece might be just right for most people, but it’s my youngest daughter’s favorite and she likes a nice big slice.

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Procter & Gamble's current headquarters

Procter & Gamble’s current headquarters