Saturday, October 30, 2010


October is my favorite month by far. I don't even have a second favorite month. One of the many things I love is pumpkins! My housemates thought I was serious when I said I didn't mind going to Safeway for a pumpkin if they didn't have time to go to the pumpkin patch, but safeway had zero pumpkins for sale!
I ran up and down the aisles looking for the perfect pumpkin and trying to stay out of the mud. It's not a real pumpkin patch but it has a good variety and is outdoors. Peter found a gorgeous red pumpkin but I had already fallen in love with a plain orange one before I saw the fancy pumpkins. I bought it for 6 dollars (and they gave me a tiny one free!) and proceeded to entertain myself with it continuously for 4 hours.
When I sat down to carve my pumpkin, Xiaona said it was making her hungry because pumpkin is just another vegetable in China. (she and Peter are saving their pumpkin until after midterms when they have time) So instead of taking off the skin in a woodgrain pattern like I planned, I carved a simple lattice so she would have a lot of pumpkin chunks to make soup. (Note: this next part saddened me and might sadden you.) While I was doing this she told me a story of starvation from the 1950s in a village near hers, where a family had saved a pumpkin in their garden to eat if they got too hungry, another family stole it to feed sick children, then a member of the first family died of starvation and a member of the second family felt so bad for stealing and causing a death that he killed himself. I asked her how much she needed for the soup and she said half. I did my best but at most I removed 1/3. It was a lot easier than a woodgrain was going to be and I think it looks nice.
This is Xiaona when I dragged her outside for a picture showing off the pumpkin-as-food v pumpkin-as-craft.
And the last present my pumpkin gave me, roasted pumpkin seeds! The little bowl is with cayenne pepper and the big bowl is just salted.
Here is how you do it: Separate the seeds from the pulp. Preheat the oven to 300f. Boil the seeds in salty water (actually my water might have been too salty to boil so I just turned it off and left the seeds in very hot water for 20 minutes). Spread them out very thin on a cookie sheet. In 20 minutes, stir them, and half an hour after that take them out and season them. I used sea salt and cayenne pepper. The ones from the tiny pumpkin they gave me for free tasted a lot more delicious than the big, flat ones.

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