Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adventures in Local Eating: The Pumpkin Edition

When my friend Lazy Locavore first talked with me about her food choices, I thought that I had misheard her.

"You're a loco-vore?" I asked. "A crazy-eater?"

"No," she said with a laugh. "I'm a locavore. I eat locally-grown foods."

I didn't think much about this until she handed me a pound of locally-raised ground beef.

"Try this," she said.

I put the meat in my refrigerator. Again, I didn't think much about it until I took the meat out and actually looked at it. This was Meat with a capital M. It smelled fresh, it looked fresh, and it was very moist, almost bloody. I could practically visualize the cow, which initially set me back a bit. But my husband and I persisted and soon we had tasty hamburgers for dinner.

"Huh," I thought. "Maybe there is something to this locally-grown food stuff."

A couple of weeks later, I was standing in a farmer's market, looking for ripe apples. Taking a sniff of the rich and lovely scent of fresh produce, I realized something. I miss the smell of food. So many things you pick up in the grocery store these days are almost devoid of smell.

But what really got to me were pumpkins. This year, my boys went on several hay rides and soon we had a porch full of pumpkins. Lazy Locavore persuaded me to cook one.

"It's not hard," she insisted. "I can do it and I'm lazy about my food."

Several of our pumpkins were true carving pumpkins, hollow inside with a slightly off smell and few seeds. I was glad that Lazy Locavore had taught me to look for a small, solid pumpkin when baking. When I found one that literally bent the knife as I tried to cut into it, I knew I had a keeper. It looked something like this (sans the face):

Now, several days later, my pumpkin looks like this:

And here's what I learned: Pumpkins are food! I had been completely ignoring the fact that people actually eat them. I just saw them as ornamental.

The most important thing that the locavore movement has taught me so far: when we no longer relate to fresh foodstuffs as food, something needs to change.

Photo credits: Mama Joules


Allie said...

Mmmm, looks yummy!

jublke said...

Thanks, Allie! The seeds were great, albeit a little chewy. I think I should have greased the pan. Apparently, if you roast pumpkin seeds for the birds, you aren't supposed to grease the pan but for people, you are. As for the pumpkin puree, I haven't used it yet (I froze it), but I was surprised by how mild it tasted when compared with the canned variety.

cachestarhouse said...

My mom told me about a similar experience in reverse. I'm from southern Nevada, where pomegranates are one of the few fruits that can actually grow there. I remember eating fresh pomegranates as a kid, making a huge mess with mom's approval, and we always have a pomegranate salad for Thanksgiving dinner. One time, my mom saw that a decorating/cooking show on TV was going to have a segment on pomegranates, & thought they might have some good recipe suggestions that she hadn't thought of. Instead, the host just used them as decoration, & my mom was hugely disappointed.