I have stated so many times that I am not a cook. I don’t enjoy it, I’m not imaginative and in fact, if I can just get it from the freezer to the table without over-salting, over-sugaring or over cooking it, I figure I’m doing pretty well.
Why then, do you suppose I undertook a major cooking from scratch project? It’s easy. My sweet little grandson looked at me with those big beautiful eyes of his and said, “Grandma, I want a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin.”
I’m sure his parents are capable of it, but Grandma, who is seriously off her meds sometimes, decided that it was her duty as a card-carrying grandma to make that pie. After all, how hard could it be to make a pumpkin pie from scratch?
Well, as it turned out, it was pretty tough. I forged ahead nonetheless. First, there was the selection of a pumpkin. I went to the store and tried to determine which of those giant ribbed orange monsters looked the most pie-like. I selected a medium-sized one because everyone said that was going to be more than enough pumpkin.
Lacking the sense to just labor in silence and see what I could do, I immediately posted a picture of the pumpkin on Facebook, inviting the little boys to try and guess what Grandma was going to bring them. They guessed that Grandma was bringing a big pumpkin. I should have left it at that.
I cracked open that pumpkin and went to work. I hate taking the seeds out of a pumpkin. It’s slimy and stringy and there is no tool that ever does the job, so I always end up having to use my hands. With a little effort and a lot of swearing, crying and grasping slippery seeds with my fingers, I finally had the darn thing gutted.
Then came the baking. I put the pieces on a pan and in the oven. About 10 p.m., they were mostly done. I turned off the oven and thought, “I’ll watch the news and then take them out and put them in the garage to cool overnight.” The news wasn’t terribly exciting and so I fell asleep in the chair. About 1 a.m. I stumbled out of the chair and went to bed. The baked pumpkin wasn’t in the garage.
The next morning I rushed around, went to work and about 10 a.m. or so, I remembered my baked pumpkin, spoiled and by this time probably molding in the oven. I got home, flung open the oven door and there they were, looking slightly depressed and smelling—not in a good way. They hit the garbage and I hit the grocery store.
I had a struggle with myself at the grocery store: should I buy another pumpkin or pumpkin in a can? I remembered those trusting little boy eyes and bought the pumpkin. I cleaned another slimy set of seeds and baked it…sitting next to the stove this time.
Then came the task of getting that pumpkin into something like pie-baking texture. This proved tricky. Not only did I have to run it twice through a mixer and a blender, I failed to put the top on the blender for one round before I turned it on puree. The walls, my clothes and my glasses all looked like they had the orange measles. Two days later and I am still combing pumpkin blobs out of my hair.
The pumpkin at last had the look and consistency of strained baby carrots and I was able to stir them up into a pie-like substance. The baking is done and the pies are ready to try, but I don’t know: Do you suppose I should taste them in advance or let the grandsons take their chances?
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