The emotional-support pumpkin (soup)

I saw a video in the early hours of this day – around the time of the blood moon eclipse – of a dog who had fallen in love with a small pumpkin at the pumpkin patch.  He carried that little pumpkin around – cuddled with it, nurtured it, slept with it.

It was his “emotional-support pumpkin”.

Today is the midterm elections.  There is quite a lot of energy associated with today.

Mostly I have been laying low. Preparing for the apocalypse. Ha.

Today is also the anniversary of the death of my father.

A few weeks’ ago R and I had lunch with a couple we had not seen in years and years – who we were quite close with in our early days of life as junior faculty and with babies – and who, we learned – remembered everything about us.

We found this shocking, actually.  We have moved so much in the last number of decades that we just didn’t remember that we were important to anybody at all.    The fact that we had friends that remembered small details about us – was a comfort – and well, a surprise.

In these days I have been talking a lot about needing community.  Needing those who are close and comforting.   We need the roundness of our communities and the roundness of our – emotional support pumpkins.

Yeah, that may not seem to make sense.   But at lunch a few weeks ago – Steve said to us: “You know, I always loved and remembered that amazing pumpkin soup that Leslie used to make.  I have been thinking about it for year and years.”

Who am I really – that someone remembers a soup I made decades ago?

But a few days ago I dug out my old recipe box and found the recipe.   On the recipe I had written:  “The first Thanksgiving we had in St. Louis, I made this soup.  We lived in Manchester and Grandma Lois came to visit us when we still knew almost no one in town.   Morrie (my father-in-law) was gone maybe only six months – and she got on a plane to see just us.   That was amazing.”

I made sure I had shallots early this morning.  And a jalapeño. And I sharpened the knives because it seemed like the right day to do so.  And as the sun lowers in the sky and I don’t know our futures yet – I give you:

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Carmelized Shallots

(serves 6-8)

1 large, fresh pie pumpkin – about 2 lbs (or 2 cups canned plain pumpkin)

3 T. olive oil, divided

1 fresh jalapeno pepper, halved and seeded

6 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

½ t. dried thyme

5 cups veg or chicken stock

1 cup cream or any kind of milk you wish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds.  Score the flesh lightly with a knife to help the heat to penetrate.  Brush the inside of each half with the 1 T olive oil, then place cut side down over the jalapeno on a baking sheet.

Bake until very tender, about 1 hour. (Pumpkin flesh should begin to caramelize)

Cool slightly, then scrape out the flesh and set aside along with the jalapeno.  If using canned pumpkin, measure 2 cups and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a heavy stockpot and saute the shallots over very low heat until soft and caramelized, about 20 min.  Add the pumpkin, jalapeno, thyme, and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, until flavors and blended.

Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.  Return to the pot and add the cream or milk – then heat gently but do not boil.  Season with salt/pepper and serve.

It is my plan to enjoy this with apples – and flan – a recipe from M which should give me comfort in uncertainty.

Wishing you joy and good flavors.  

And friends who bring you comfort – who remember your meals – decades later.

No matter what happens in our world.

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