First, there are the teasing pumpkin bellies, stretched across fields, displaying their roundness like fertile young women in bikinis on the beach. Then come the seasonal signs, a bit battered from annual use, announcing the arrivals: we have pumpkins! pick your own! hayrides and pumpkins! Then, well, I’m writing about then. I was tempted during the frenzy of buying pumpkins for carving to do as others had and write about the nostalgic fun of the holiday, the ancient Celtic roots. But other bloggers did that. And did it well. Chris Bohjalian wrote a perfect pumpkin blog in Idyll Banter.
Also, right about when I was hip-deep in pumpkin thoughts, the “p” key began to stick on the laptop on which I like to write. Everything was coming up umkins. I admit to being one of those things happen for a reason types. Wait a week, key gets magically fixed by my tech-savvy husband. Halloween has come and gone and the carved remains still sit on our steps. The story is not over.
Soon they will grow gross black stuff on the inside and curve inward looking like they left their dentures on the nightstand. No one loves the nasty remains. I never heeded the advice to salvage the jack o’lantern by cutting it up and cooking it. First, do you remember all the hands digging around in the seed guts trying to clean out the last of the inner slime? Second, unless you literally snatch the pumpkin back in the house on Halloween, it has started to decay. Again, nasty.
If you love fresh baked pumpkin, buy sugar pumpkins (the small ones that are grown for eating) and bake them for Thanksgiving plus any occasion pies.
The farm stands still have giant bins full of sugar pumpkins. For all who think that this vegetable is a single note wonder — think again. Pumpkin pie, soup, cake, risotto, cookies, bread, mash. I even made pumpkin whoopie pies recently which were fabulous with ginger cream cheese filling. (Is the filling called whoopie?)
I love that my Brit friends call all manner of squash, “pumpkin.” They don’t relegate one for carving, others for eating. Or for a single night. Anticipation is wonderful. Stretching out the pumpkin experience … even better. Frankly, it also lessens the odd guilty feeling I get when I have to leave pumpkins behind. Even at the $1 special price, there’s a limit. My family can only carve, bake, freeze, eat so many. So I’m saying: take a pumpkin home today!