It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a blog. I really don’t have much of a good reason. Except that I’ve been busy changing. I recently got married, moved provinces* and I’ve sought and acquired temporary employment. So please excuse the lateness of this post.
I’m currently thinking of retooling things around here. So it might look, or at least feel a little different soon. Keeping with the current trend, Fridays will not be my main day to post as they just don’t work anymore. I will post something tomorrow for old time sake.
Now, to a matter more timely and “newsworthy”: pumpkins and our skewed understanding of them.
Recently some co-workers asked me what I was doing for Halloween. It’s a question that inevitably leads to another: “why don’t you like Halloween?”
I just don’t get it. Now that I’ve gotten older I don’t get it anymore. Why all the plastic packaging for candy so small you need a microscope to see it? Why all the pretense and excuse to drinking more than you should for your own health? And why, oh why would you put a perfectly delicious vegetable on your porch to rot?
I was walking down a residential street and saw a jack-o-lantern. Looking into the holes resembling eyes I noticed how deep the edible part of the pumpkin went. It was tragic. All that vegetable could’ve been a pie. It could’ve been a lovely soup. It could’ve been cookies! Cookies!
So why would we stab and dig and mangle food if we aren’t going to eat it? Could it be that we don’t necessarily associate pumpkins in their bulbous state with food? I think it’s possible. If you Google recipes including pumpkin there are endless results that include using canned pumpkin pie filling or pumpkin flavoured syrup. And these recipes are almost exclusively pumpkin pie or pumpkin chai latte recipes. This is a bit silly; just consider pumpkin pie filling to fill a pie. What’s the filling made of and how did the hard and rotund shape become so mushy and yummy. Of course, there is something to be said for convenience but at what cost? Is it worth not learning all the fun ways you can use fresh or frozen pumpkin?
As you think about those questions, here’s one of my favourite pumpkin recipes. I encourage using that delicious veggie that is wonderfully in season and not the canned filling thing. All you need to do is roast the pumpkin until it is soft, remove the skin and mash it to your heart’s content.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup pumpkin purée (made from fresh pumpkin)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup oats (adjust to your preference)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
- Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda
- Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together
- Combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly
- Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
- Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
*To all my beloved Newfoundlanders and Nova Scotians, I do feel just a little bit weird living in Ontario with the specter of the Toronto skyline looming across a lake that parades as a sea. This is a subject I’ll return to in the future. I can’t just leave my adoptive home and not elegize about what I’ve left.