Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pumpkins: The Standing Dish

Okay, I'll admit it. I don't like Halloween. I mean I really detest Halloween. Personally, I think, one week from today, on October 31, everyone should be reminded to donate blood. Yep, that's right, Halloween is such a ghoulish day of celebration, which is the perfect day to remind people to donate blood. It was the best agenda I could have ever thought of (if I had, which I didn't) when someone declared to change the batteries in smoke detectors when we turn the clocks back or forward. I can never remember so I do it for both. Let's make Halloween a day to remember to donate blood. There's nothing to FEAR except perhaps a few witches, goblins and monsters who come knocking at your door crying "give me your blood" after all, they could be begging for food. Donating blood is really no big deal. However, I do understand why there are those who are a bit peekish about the whole routine. But, how cool is it to think that on the "eve of the dead" we can give the gift of life. Very:)

On the other hand, I am pleasantly pleased with pumpkins. I actually even like carving them. I use canned pumpkin throughout the year and fresh when it is in season. It is so versatile, inexpensive and readily available. It's loaded with vitamin A, has less than 1 gram of fat, and even offers a decent amount of Potassium and Vitamin C. I agree with the writers over at the Pumpkin Nook. Pumpkin recipes are filled with all that bad stuff, not pumpkins. Pumpkins are actually quite healthy. After all, they are 90% water. Second only to corn, among the American Indians gift to the Pilgrims, was pumpkins, and the part they played in our early survival earned for it the New England nickname of the "standing-dish."

Let no man make a jest of pumpkin, for with this fruit the Lord was pleased to feed his people till corn and cattle were increased
Pumpkins were called pompions by the Pilgrims. One of the earliest and most interesting ways of preparing it was to cut off the top, remove the seeds (toast them) and fibers, and pour milk, molasses and spices inside. The top was then put back on and the whole filled pumpkin was slowly cooked in a dutch oven. The results, served in wedges, may have been the first pumpkin pie. A more modern approach to this recipe is to replace the milk with rum. I haven't tried it but...I do have a recipe for Pumpkin Rum Souffle that I found in The American Drink Book, by S. S. Field, copyright 1953.

Pumpkin Rum Souffle

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and blend in 3 tablespoons of flour, mixing thoroughly. Stir in 3/4 cup of milk and cook until thick and smooth, stirring the while. Add 1 1/4 cups of cooked and sieved pumpkin, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of rum, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Fold in beaten yolks and then stiffly beaten whites of 4 eggs. Bake for 30 minutes in a buttered casserole at 350 degrees.
If you're looking for a more traditional pumpkin pie recipe, here's one undated in poetry form.

Pumpkin Pie

Grandmother Lord was a woman wise
And this is the way she made pumkin pie:
Wash pumpkin and cut it small,
Put into, cook in a kettle tall
So that the bubbles will not pop out
To spatter the stove all round about.
Let it bubble and boil and stew
The livelong day 'till it's brown all through;

Stirring it often, and when its done,
Make it through the colander run.
Take of molasses. half a cup,
And with 3 of pumpkin mix up:
Cup and one-half of sugar white
And salt one-half a teaspoon quite.
Mix these well, stirring does no harm--
Then ginger, cinnamon, butterwarm,
A teaspoon each of the above
To season the pies of the Yankee's love.

Then four fresh eggs and a quart of milk,
Line three round tins with pastry white.
Beat well and stir 'till as fine as silk;
Pour in your filling and bake them quite

A full half hour, 'till they're well done
Then let them cool, and sire and son
And husband and preacher and family friend
Will praise your pumpkin pies no end. 
North Dakota Baptist Women Cookbook
1. Questions about donating blood
2. Halloween @ wikipedia
3. The Pumpkin Nook has Recipes

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise