Pumpkin Wasteland

Today’s post comes from Verily Sherrilee.

I’m not crazy about pumpkin.

My earliest career was in the bakery industry. I took several classes and then got my first job as a cake decorated at Shorewood Village Bakery in Milwaukee. It was a large bakery, as bakeries go, but there were times when I had to pitch in and help with other jobs in addition to making icing roses and piping out “Happy Anniversary Gramma and Gramps”.

One of those jobs was pumpkin pies. Beginning about a week before Thanksgiving and going until the New Year, we cranked out hundreds of pumpkin pies each week. In order to save time, the pies were filled while they were IN the oven, a big reel oven with rotating shelves. Each shelf held 24 pie crusts, par-baked for about 15 minutes.PumpkinPie1 Then one by one, we would stop the shelves and pour the pumpkin mixture into each shell. This took about 15 minutes per shelf. The fun part is that if you keep your arms in a very hot oven for 15 minutes times 5 shelves, you burn your arms off. So when it was your turn, you had to wrap bakery towels around your arms, secure them with bakery twine and then another employee would pour cold water over the towels. After you were about half way done with a full rotation, you’d get another douse of cold water. We took turns, so you usually only had to do this once a day, but it was every day from mid-November to January, including Sundays. Actually on Sundays the only baking that happened was pies, so you sometimes had to pour twice.

I’m sure it doesn’t surprise anybody that I don’t eat pumpkin pie. In fact, because the smell catapults me right back to those bakery days, I don’t really like anything with pumpkin in it. (I do make an exception for Breadsmith’s Pumpkin Muffins w/ Walnuts, but that’s about it.)

So this time of year is particularly hard for me. Everything has pumpkin in it. EVERYTHING. I follow several food blogs and nobody has made a thing for a few weeks now that doesn’t feature pumpkin. My coffee place has pumpkin lattes and pumpkin scones. My bagel place has pumpkin bagels. I’m sure if I could remember my dreams, they would be pumpkin dreams. I figure I have a good four weeks before we’re safely out of pumpkin season until next year. I can’t wait.

Mind you, I don’t have a problem with the other members of the squash family – just pumpkin.

What food has been spoiled for you?

87 thoughts on “Pumpkin Wasteland”

  1. Beef tongue. Mom had one of those grinders that you lock into place on the counter top. I remember her shoving that particular cut of meat into the opening and depositing the resulting mass into a bowl of pickle relish. The paste-like contents of the bowl were smeared on bread in a open face style. Degusting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Why on earth would she grind up beef tongue? If prepared right, it’s a delicacy. I have a Freecycle “friend” who buys half a beef cow every so often. Several years ago he offered the liver, the heart, the tongue and suet on Freecycle. I was the lucky recipient of these treats. Six months later I was surprised to get an email from him offering me another batch. I was amazed that he’d kept track of my email address. I have been the recipient of these gifts every six months or so for several years now. Turns out he has me filed under “weird meat lady”!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. “If prepared right”. I’m on to the games you culinary con artists love to play; trying to disguise the degusting. Next you’ll be saying lutefisk and liver are luscious… “if prepared right.” On with the food fight! 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I’m with you, wessew. My mom didn’t grind up tongue, but we had it for dinner sometimes…ugh. Not as gag-inducing as liver, but bad enough. And – despite living in minnesota all my life – I’ve never had lutefisk, but I have no desire to.

          I’ve read several novels set in England and every once in a while I will come across “tinned tongue” in them. The thought of that makes me shudder.

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      2. I had my first tongue on a student ship sailing from NYC to England. I thought it very tasty and fixed it several times after…especially at Halloween parties with a knife stuck in it.

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        1. I’m not alone, BiR. Must be those Nordic genes.

          The Christmas season with all of it’s “weird” food traditions is coming up. Headcheese, homemade liver pate, pig trotters with brown cabbage, can’t wait. 🙂 I rejoiced the first time I found pig trotters at the Asian market where I sometimes shop; they have chicken feet too. As dad used to say, used footwear for dinner.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I’m curious, cynthia, what do you mean by a student ship? Is it a clipper ship that teaches students how to sail?

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        1. Have you considered the possibility, Bill, that I’m known as the “Weird Meat Lady” in other circles? What you’re seeing here is just the tip of the iceberg.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have any food triggers, maybe Rhubarb, but I seldom see it. I love pumpkin, could do T-giving with only pumpkin pie and a mountain of whipped cream. I actually give it to my dogs at each meal, all year, right out of the can, keeps them happy. I understand your point of view though, that sounds like a mild form of torture and dread.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. And it helps prevent diarrhea. I started it with our old Daisy (yellow lab) who had a severe stomach problem. Home cooked dog food that included white rice, ground turkey, pumpkin and sweet potato took care of it.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. My dogs are pumpkin eaters as well. Suggested to me years ago by a dog guy at the state fair! We put it in the kongs and freeze them first.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. have you got a recipe or is that close enough
          I used to do that for my dog when his kidneys were failing to save money over the high cost of vet bought food but the rice and turkey ended up costing the same

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Actually, my dog has had kidney disease for about 9 years. What I give them now is very simple. I will buy grass fed beef and organic chicken. I have found his numbers for his kidneys are only stable with the garbage filled vet prescription kibble which he is allergic to. So, my kid gets, garbage kibble, a spoon of the meat mixture, a probiotic, and claritin for being allergic to the food, and a big tablespoon of pumpkin. My other dog gets a natural grain free kibble and a heap of good meat and probiotic and pumpkin. I used to use Honest Kitchen but they got stomach issues. I did the rice and turkey for a while but they started having issues with that too for some reason. I find what I am doing now works for them. I always try to buy organic, I will give them some shredded raw kale, they love kale and I don’t see them eating grass when they get kale. Sorry this is such a long reply, it’s been a long road!

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  3. I mix canned pumpkin into canned cat food, It’s high in fiber and helps digestion. Sammy doesn’t go for canned food, but the other two seem to like it.

    My first job was at a chicken franchise which had a famously secret recipe. I recall the smell of the flour mixture that was used to coat the chicken. It was tough to tell what all exactly was in it, but you could not miss the distinctive smell of cloves. These days there are a number of web articles, including one on Wikipedia, that list the eleven herbs and spices, but none of them include cloves. Always puzzles me. It was the least secret ingredient, because you couldn’t possibly miss that smell.

    I ate quite a bit of chicken while I worked there, and never really got sick of it. I do use cloves in a lot of foods, especially soups. It goes well with pumpkin, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Funny! Just yesterday someone who claimed to have been recently fired from KFC posted the eleven spices and herbs used in their recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t remember if it included cloves, but I don’t think it did.

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  4. Oh Sherrilee, that sounds awful. Do you have scars from burns all over your arms? Small wonder you avoid pumpkin.

    I’m lucky; like christina I have no food triggers. I tend to like savory and spicy foods over sweet ones. Fried beef liver with lots of onions over mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts is one of my all time favorite meals. Unfortunately husband doesn’t share my enthusiasm for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WE will have to get together up north here and have liver and onions (and bacon) someday. I know a couple restaurants that serve it as does the Black Bear Casino buffet. nummy. They serve it right next to the Lutefisk in cream sauce on Sunday evenings.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Chicken McNuggets. Not that I’m a purveyor of McDonald’s food anyway, so it’s no great loss. I was triple-shifting three shows of Ice Capades at the Duluth Arena (as it used to be known) back in the mid-80’s. Our Guest Services Manager at the time was, what you’d call, terrible. So, the only breaks we got were in between shows, after we’d gotten through getting everyone out AND picking up ‘large’ pieces of trash by hand, since there wasn’t time for a labor crew to come in and clean the stands between shows. Between the 2nd and 3rd shows, about a dozen of us hit the Skywalk into downtown for a McDonald’s run for ~anything~ to eat. No breakfast, no lunch, and hustling all day…I was pretty famished. So, I ordered two 30-piece boxes of nuggets and a small soda. I managed to choke them all down but haven’t had one since.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OT: That downtown MacDonald’s was replaced by an OfficeMax in the 90s. (OfficeMax –or was it Office Depot?– lasted six months after a total remodel job of that space replacing an office supply, book store and MacDonalds.

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      1. I suppose we could’ve eaten at our own concession stands but I was never a fan of our ‘polarena’ polish sausage. Or, as I used to call it, ‘Ragnarok on a bun.’

        Liked by 3 people

  6. Well, I used to really like braunschweiger when I was small, but I think I ate too much and now I really couldn’t force myself to eat it. We use it as a medium to get our dog to swallow her pills. She loves it. It worked to get the cat to take his pills, too.

    Daughter despises pumpkin. She recently told me that when she was little her day care provider gave them all pumpkin pie and she got sick after she ate it and now won’t touch it. She won’t touch any kind of pie, which is kind of sad since pie is my favorite pastry to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing how quickly getting sick from from eating something will put you off to that food. Husband got violently sick from lobster once, hasn’t touched it since. Happened to me as a kid with ice cream, of all things; didn’t touch it for years.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m pretty sure if I ever had the gelatinous version of lutefisk, that would do it. Lutefisk, I’ve read somewhere, is one of those things that lost the ability to be cooked properly somewhere along the way. My grandma never messed with it, we’ve always had boxed salt cod, which is just delicious.

    There must be something else I don’t eat…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My Norski Mother-in-law cooked the worst, most gelatinous lutefisk EVER. However, the mashed potatoes, butter and Norwegian meatballs were good.

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  8. I like pumpkin, but don’t go for all the hype, mainly because i don’t frequent coffee shops, bagel shops, or bakeries. I already have enough pumpkin recipes so don’t go seeking out new recipes on blogs or pinterest. And I love pumpkin pie; that idea above of doing thanksgiving dinner with just pumpkin pie sounds good to me.

    And I find it interesting that you like squash, not pumpkin. Rumor has it that canned pumpkin is actually canned squash (butternut, I think). They are all just variations of the same thing, although pumpkins that are bred for jack o’ lanterns are not as tasty as pie/sugar pumpkin and other winter squash.

    I can’t stomach canned tuna. I got terribly sick once while I was still eating a tunafish sandwich and I have not been able to eat it since, even 21 years after the fact. You would think I would have gotten over my revulsion by now, but no. Oh well, there is plenty of other good food around.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My erstwife and I once drank far too much Southern Comfort. We both thought it was whiskey, not knowing it was a cordial. We were entertaining a fascinating couple the night we had too much of it, and the general excitement of the conversation that night distracted us while we kept knocking back shots of Southern Comfort. The physical consequences of our mistake–which I won’t describe–led both of us to one of those bargains with God, the kind where you promise if you can outlive the effects of your mistake you will never do that again.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. I eat just about anything and nothing has ever stopped me from doing so. Although I might pass on liver and blue cheese just because they’re kind of disgusting on their own. Doesn’t matter if I got sick, drunk or toiled endless hours on it — still eat it.

    In college, I worked at the Green Giant corn processing plant in Glencoe. My clothes and jacket reeked and were covered with corn snot, but I have no problem consuming corn.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My childhood was weird because of milk. As an infant, I couldn’t get enough of it. But I had a congenital problem with constipation that a family physician misdiagnosed as milk intolerance. He told my mother to take me off milk for about two years. My earliest memories center on being forced to drink prune juice and mineral oil. That . . . and being forced to drink milk. When my mother learned milk was not causing my problems she began insisting that I drink a tall glass of milk with each meal, only by then I had lost a taste for it.

    At every meal I was forced to drink a big tumbler of milk. I would rather have drunk a tall glass of my own spit. I avoided touching the milk until the end of the meal, which let it get warm and more disgusting. I’d finally take a deep breath, pinch my nose and chug the whole disgusting thing in one hideous glut of swallowing. At the end of that I would exhale and race away from the table while my poor sister howled, “He HOOFED on me! He HOOFED on me!”

    One result of this was that I couldn’t bear to consume any milk product, especially cheese. My stomach almost turned when I looked at cottage cheese or yogurt or even cream cheese. That disgust soon extended to white food in general. And I began my life as a person with weird tastes (actually, weird distates) who would disappoint all those kindly folks who sought to please me by serving food slathered in cheese.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I remember, when very young, being served things that have fallen out of favor. There is of course the much maligned creamed chipped beef on toast. Then there were codfish balls in cream sauce with boiled potatoes. The codfish balls came in a can. King Oskar was the brand.
    And for dessert, a nice big bowl of prune whip…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My mom regularly served chipped beef on toast. I remember liking it. But my dad would inevitably break into song when this was our meal, singing the tune he learned in the Army about “shit on shingles.” Because of that song I lost all enthusiasm for chipped beef on toast.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. OT- this has been a long and stressful week at work. Today I only worked until 10:00 and was trying to finish dictating an evaluation. I was looking through test materials and data and the client’s file as I simultaneously composed and dictated. I realized about halfway through the report that I had been using my coffee cup as the dictaphone. The dictaphone was lying on the table. I hadn’t even turned it on.

    Liked by 6 people

  13. Rise and Shine? Baboons:

    I am way late today–different time zone has me out of kilter. We also spent the morning visiting garage sales. I will say it is a different level of sales here East of Scottsdale–I found a Frederick Remington statue for $1300. Yes, I wanted it. No I did not get it.

    Meanwhile, I am with VS on the dislike of pumpkin–I just don’t care much for it and I find a pumpkin latte “degusting.” The other one is hotdogs. An early college cornfield party and barbecue combined with way too much Mad Dog wine (Mogen David) created a life-long avoidance of hotdogs. And this was created by my own hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So how do you feel about Mogen David these days? Pretty high class, I’d say, we drank Boone’s Farm or for special occasions, Mateus.

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  14. I have been busy on a home repair project today so I am late on participating on the Trail today. I hardly ever eat hamburgers which were once a regular part of my diet. I would eat them if I could be assured that the ground beef used to make them is from a good source. I’m sure most of the hamburger that is available is okay. However, It always seems to me that any hamburger I might eat which is not completely from a very good source might have some beef from from a not so good source mixed in with beef from good sources.

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    1. Ground beef is fine if you buy it from a local butcher rather than a supermarket, Jim. From our local butcher i sometimes order what they call “kibbie meat.” Has to be ordered at least one day in advance. It’s ground first thing in the morning before anything else touches those grinding blades, and it’s free of all grizzle and fat. It is so good, and the only thing that will do if you’re going to indulge in “beef tartare.” It’s a little pricey, but we indulge only two or three times a year, so we splurge.

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    2. I had a long talk with a food safety specialist at Lunds, Jim. He explained measures taken by that organization to make hamburger safer. But he admitted that hamburger scared him. He dreaded getting up one day to read headlines about bad hamburger being sold by Lunds.

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  15. Evening!

    It’s a good day; my corn is all out. I can chisel plow tomorrow. Call me a happy camper.

    For me it’s champagne. Back in the mid 80’s I was in a couple Mantorville Melodrama’s. At the season ending cast party, I am proud to say our cast drank more champagne per person than any other cast. Our win was something like 2.3 bottles / person that night.
    I got very sick.
    I do do champagne anymore.

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    1. Ben, I can only imagine what a blessing these balmy, late fall days are to farmers. Drove to Sleepy Eye last weekend, and saw several farmers out there taking advantage of the weather. What a perfect autumn.

      Just harvested the last of my hydrangeas, and they are gorgeous. Still have a couple of surprise Romanesco to harvest. Surprise, because I though I had planted ordinary broccoli. But no, here they are, in all their weird glory. Maybe I can talk husband into taking a picture of them, although that’s not a subject that inspires him.

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      1. The hydrangeas in western Wales are incredible. The soil is apparently very acidic- so much so that there are lime kilns scattered throughout the countryside that were traditionally used to burn limestone to produce lime with which to amend the soil. The effect is that hydrangeas there range from pink to magenta to rich purple and even indigo.

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  16. Pumpkin soup
    1 can pumpkin
    1 can chicken or vegetable broth
    1 can evaporated milk
    chopped onion
    1 clove garlic
    3 tbsp olive oil or butter
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp ground mustard
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1/2 tsp allspice
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1/2 tsp ginger
    1/4 tsp cloves

    Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil or butter. Add everything else and simmer. Spices can be varied as you please, but the cumin is non-negotiable, at least for me. It’s the dominant flavor. Substitute canned or frozen butternut squash if you are among those with a firm bias against pumpkin.

    Liked by 1 person

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