The first time I peeled a pumpkin and cooked it down into puree, I was about 25. The other day, I remembered why I'd waited 12 years to do it again.
It's not that I don't like fresh pumpkin, it blows away pumpkin puree out of the can. But peeling a pumpkin and cooking it down is a pain in the butt. No, actually, just the peeling part.
Usually when I want to peel a squash or a pumpkin, I slow roast it. But with puree, roasting does slightly change the flavor, and I just think it comes out better if you peel it and cook it down with just a teeny bit of water on the stove.
But like I said, it's a pain to peel a raw pumpkin. It went like this: we bought a beautiful cinderella-shaped pumpkin at a local farm stand last month. I was sucked in by the word heirloom and the lovely orange color. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a pretty squash.
So there it sat, on a shelf in the kitchen for a few weeks, waiting for the right moment. That moment was Saturday. I'd been fighting a cold, and was finally feeling better. We had a family party on Sunday, and I'd promised to make the cake. Pumpkin Chocolate Cake, to be exact, baked in my pumpkin-shaped Bundt pan. Okay, so I like pumpkins. A lot.
So I found myself, after a long day of errands, peeling pumpkin. Because I believe in local food, less packaging, and eating as close to (but with the dirt washed off, thank you very much) the earth as possible, this was the only way to start. Plus roasted pumpkin seeds are really really good.
1/2 way through, at about 25 minutes - it was a big pumpkin - I was thoroughly irritated and tired. 3/4 of the way through the pumpkin got wrapped in plastic wrap and I left it for later (later has not yet arrived).
In the end, I didn't have heavy cream for the cake anyway, so I made Gingerbread cake instead. With a toffee glaze. It was good. And I stuck the cooked pumpkin in the freezer for something else.
But it reminded me that sometimes, sometimes, convenience foods are awesome. And really convenient. No, they don't taste as good. Yes, they create environmental impact.
But dammit, a can opener is just so much easier to use.
And so it goes. Talk to me about it again in another 12 years.