I’ll Have Pumpkin….Anything, Please

By Mary Anne Andersen

Cedar City Arts Council

It’s autumn time, it’s autumn time,

The leaves are falling down.

It’s autumn time, it’s autumn time,

Pretty colors can be found.

I have sung that song with children at this time of the year for season after season, and find it going through my head as I am outside during this glorious time.  It is beautiful in Cedar City in the fall.  The face of Cedar Mountain looks like an abstract painting of red, orange, and yellow, yellow, yellow.  In town, the trees are sharing their colors with the children walking to the school bus, showering them with leaves that they crunch under foot as they go. Truly, one of the loveliest things about Iron County is four real seasons.

But, another wonderful thing about autumn is….pumpkin!  Pumpkin anything.  Now I know that cartoonists and columnists are starting to say that enough is enough.  They say, trust the American culture to overdo a good thing by spicing everything from cookies to pancakes to wine with cinnamon and nutmeg.  And this is a bad thing because……..?

I read that the pumpkin used to be held in low esteem as a squash for the down and out.  Only those bumpkins who couldn’t do any better relied on the lowly pumpkin as a staple in their crops and consequently their diets.  The nursery rhyme, “Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater, Had a wife and couldn’t keep her,” was supposedly a reference to a poor, illiterate farmer who couldn’t support his wife.  I don’t see the reference to illiteracy in it and find it just delightful nonsense.  After all, what about the “Poor Woman who lived in a shoe”?  Are we supposed to read that has a slap at large families?

Gradually the pumpkin began a slow climb up the ladder of respectability, until its present state of near ubiquity.  In one weekend, I had pumpkin pancakes in a favorite Las Vegas restaurant, purchased a big box of pumpkin bread mix at Costco, and bought the cream of October desserts:  pumpkin ice cream.

My favorite is Dreyer’s Slow-Churned pumpkin pie, laced with a ribbon of crunchy graham cracker crust.  I bought two half gallons the first week it showed up in the store.  The next week, there was only one carton in the store freezer.  (To publicly confess about how low I will go to get my fix,  I shoved it to the back of the shelf so it would still be there when I got to the end of my shopping, ready to buy ice cream.)  My last visit, I brought home two more cartons.  I’m going to be eating pumpkin ice cream until January!

You see, luckily for me, my husband doesn’t eat pumpkin desserts, usually.  So as long as I’ve got room in my freezer, I can stock up and enjoy it all by myself.  And November is just around the corner, with the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner coming up: pumpkin pie.


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