Halloween lives on through pumpkin soup - which seems to go on and on
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Sheena Grant’s year of Thrifty Living.
Halloween may have been and gone but the pumpkin lives on - in my house at least.
Regular readers may recall me lamenting the vegetable waste and commercialism that now accompanies this annual festival and vowing to have nothing to do with either this year as I attempt to live more thriftily. I invoked memories of Halloweens past, when we would carve swede rather than pumpkin, and I pledged that any lanterns I made this year would be of the more traditional root vegetable variety rather than the foul-tasting squash family member favoured by our American cousins. I, for one, would not be contributing to the 18,000 tonnes of pumpkin thrown away in the UK each year.
Except my son had other ideas.
“I thought we’d carve a swede this year,” I ventured when talk turned to Halloween.
“You can if you want,” he replied, with barely concealed derision for my eccentric ideas, “but I’m doing a pumpkin.”
I argued on for a while but was getting nowhere. “Okay then,” I said. “But we have to cook and eat what we scoop out.”
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And I wasn’t giving up on my swede plan either. So, there we were, on the eve of Halloween, him scooping out a pumpkin and me wrestling with an interestingly-shaped 50p swede, bought from my local organic farm shop.
The flesh of the swede came out easier than I had feared and when we had finished I stood back to admire my handiwork – a lantern of character and individuality. My son was impressed enough to suggest I might have won him over to the swede side.
The next day my thoughts turned to the pumpkin and swede scoopings I had stored in the fridge and the soup I planned to make with it, onions, coconut milk, lemon grass and a chilli. The first bowl was surprisingly tasty but my husband refused to sample any. “I don’t eat pumpkin,” was all he would say. My son tried a spoonful but couldn’t be persuaded to eat any more. And so my lunch menu for the rest of the week is decided. Roll on Friday, is all I can say.
Thanks to Jean Clarkson for her fascinating letter about the origins of Halloween in the Celtic New Year as a time for making resolutions and honouring ancestors. “When my daughter lived in Portugal she grew pumpkins and stored some for winter,” Jean writes. “They’ll survive until the end of February – that’s why the Americans originally grew them.”
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