Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lords of the Gourd!

I was probably the only person in Central Kentucky who spent this glorious afternoon indoors! I still have to put my legs up after several hours, so I got a NYT, a coffee, and enjoyed the Autumn colors out the window. I did get to watch a great TV program on PBS. Called "Lords of the Gourd," it was all about people who nurture giant pumpkins for an annual competition. The giant pumpkins and the tricks of the trade were interesting, but the people were fascinating.

Some of them referred to the pumpkins as their children. One woman said, "We don't have kids, so these are our kids." Another said, "When you lose a pumpkin, its like losing a child." A few commented that they actually spent so much time on their gourds that it kept them away from their families. No vacations during growing time, and one dad even had to skip his kids' soccer games to water his.

The show was quite well done. It reminded me of some thoughts I was having in the Spring as I was planting my own garden. Feeling somewhat discouraged about the tribulations of my adult children, I decided that bringing children into the world was akin to planting gardens, especially planting gardens when you are inexperienced. You have all of these hopes and dreams, but you are aware of a multitude of complications that can befall your plants, or your children. You try to grow them organically & pests get them. You try to manage them and you discover you interfered too much. They can do beautifully right up until it is time to bloom,and then some rot, some disease, some critter, can end it all. I was very discouraged about both that day!

My garden turned out fine. We actually didn't buy any seeds but used up all the ones that had been sitting around for years.I alternated careful attention with complete negligence. I had some disappointments --tomatoes were a complete bust -- but there were some delightful surprises. We had more green beans than we could devour, a few sweet cantaloupes, pumpkins (not giant!)and green peppers?  Wow. Marjorie threw a pack of flower seeds in mid-summer, and a gorgeous flower patch blossomed. My garden did fine,and I think my kids will ultimately be fine, too.

Here's a recipe for pumpkin-coconut soup. Doesn't it sound good?


2 1/2 pounds Pumpkin (fresh)

1 medium Onion
2 cloves Garlic chopped
2 teaspoons Cumin ground
2 cups Chicken broth (or boullion)
1 cup Water
1/3 cup Coconut milk
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
Scallions optional, for garnish

1. Cut open pumpkin, discard seeds, stringy stuff and peel. Cut into approximately 1 inch pieces. Peel onion and cut into rings.

2. Put pumpkin, onion, garlic, cumin, broth and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender.

3. Process in batches in a blender. You may also use a hand blender, but a normal blender will result in an even smoother soup.

4. Return to pot on stove. Add coconut milk and lemon juice, heat on medium heat while stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt as desired.

5. Serve garnished with leftover coconut milk and scallions