A few days ago, I blogged that I was roasting a pumpkin to make pies for Thanksgiving. MH, I believe, scoffed at the notion of making a pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin, when the supermarket sells perfectly adequate canned pumpkin guts. Others scoffed at the entire notion of a pumpkin pie.
First of all, let me defend the pumpkin pie. When it’s done right, it should float like a Spanish flan. It has one foot in the sweet world and one in the savory; it’s an amphibian food. And it’s the perfect post-Thanksgiving breakfast.
Now, let me also explain why I get a huge pumpkin from the farmer’s market or the CSA every year, divide it up, roast it, scrape out the guts, puree it, measure it, dole it into baggies, and freeze it. (This year, we used a Lakota variety.) Because it’s badass.
I like knowing that if there’s a zombie apocalypse or another Great Depression or the end of liberal world order thanks to the election of an insane demagogue, I will be able to turn my backyard into a subsistence farm and survive. Pumpkins are food weeds; easy to grow and yield tons of food. That one pumpkin that we roasted yielded about 8 cups of puree that was pre-measured into baggies and then frozen. Over the winter, it will get turned into soup, bread, and even a flavoring for risotto.
When you roast a pumpkin, it connects you to the past. To a woman with cloth cap in the 1600s in Virginia figuring out how to cook this strange gourd and to survive the winter. It’s harder to channel your inner settler woman, if you scan the bar code on your can of pumpkin guts at the self-serve line at Stop and Shop.
So, if you want to be a badass cook who survives the zombies AND connects to women from the past, then here are the essentials: an excellent set of pots and pans, a food processor, a KitchenAid mixer, a garlic press, cutting boards, an Alice Bloomfield cookbook, wine glasses (because you absolutely allowed to drink while cooking), and a soup mixer stick thingie.
I freeze food, while Steve cans it. I’m not sure why, but that’s how it works around here. He does his canning using the basic pots and supplies that we have in the kitchen, but I suppose that if you wanted to get fancy, you could use the gadgets for that. There’s also fancy equipment for freezing. I don’t know. A black sharpie and some ziplock baggies work just fine for me. We’ve also found lots of info about preserving food on the Internet, which we’ve printed out and saved in binders. I do like these pretty books though, too.
I need to cook more dried beans. They really do taste better than the canned variety. And I want to store them in very anal retentive jars in my pantry.
Alright. This post is getting long. We’ll come back to the kitchen in a couple of days with some more fun suggestions.