The most homegrown thing on the table this Thanksgiving was pie, and though it was lovely, I’m not sure I want to have that life experience again.

The main trouble was that the pumpkins were just awful in the garden this summer. Maybe it’s that we’re city folk at the 48th parallel, with postage-stamp backyards and 24/7 shade. But they hogged all the warmth and sunlight, blocked access to the back steps and killed about half the grass, leaving behind a cold season mud pit. Much coddling was required to produce just three little sugar pumpkins, and even then powdery mildew brought down the vines in late September, the fruits dark green and speckled, not a blush of orange in evidence.

A blasting indoor radiator turned the eldest of them orange by Halloween. The Biscuit notched this as a major victory. The two remaining ones continued their ripening at a glacial pace. We finally roasted them yesterday morning, and I wish I could tell you it was an epiphany. For sure, we had fun running our fingers through pumpkin guts. We counted seeds until we got to twenty and lost interest. But truth be told, roasting and pureeing pumpkins was just one more thing to do on a long Thanksgiving prep list. It’s hard to want to go through all that again.

(Just in case, though, here’s what I learned: the more orange they get, the sweeter they taste. We followed Lane Morgan’s infallible instructions for pumpkin pie in the Winter Harvest Cookbook. )

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