Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pumpkin Run

As Thanksgiving approached, Americans around Edinburgh kept their ears to the proverbial track to find out what stores would stock "tinned" pumpkin.  Apparently last year there was a pumpkin shortage causing mass chaos around town come the last week in November.  OK, not really, but you don't realize how important pumpkin is to your diet until you live in a country where the general consensus is, "you eat what?!"

Of course, right as I hear about this possible shortage, blogs everywhere highlight their newest pumpkin recipe for fall. Desperation started to set in. Can you imagine no pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving?!  That was culture shock I couldn't handle, so I kept my ears opened for any rumors of tinned pumpkin.

Thanks to my Monday night tea group (made up of American and Canadian women from our university family housing complex), I got on the inside track.   The rule being that the first person to find said pumpkin alerts the rest of us immediately.  Thanks to Kathleen, I ordered 10 cans from Waitrose.

I then impulsively picked up 3 more cans at Peckhams when I saw the Libby's Tinned Pumpkin in Stock!  Get yours before they're gone! sign out front.  Actually it probably said it in a much more British way than that, but the urgency for pumpkin was evident.

That's right.  13 cans in all.  And as of today, December 9th, we only have 2 left.  So yeah, you could say I went a little pumpkin crazy this fall.

Here is what I made:

**A New Year's resolution of mine is to learn how to take pictures of food.  I got some tips from Bakerella, but they didn't so much work out...

Pumpkin Soup
Recipe courtesy of my friend Bobbie

Pumpkin Pie
Recipe from the Libby's can of course!

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Bread
Recipe from my mom

Pumpkin Squares
Recipe courtesy of my friend Meredith

More Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Dip
Recipe courtesy of my friend Jenn

The most noteworthy of my plethora of pumpkin dishes would have to be Paula Deen's Pumpkin Bars.  After having them at my friend Rachael's flat during Monday night tea, and then in the same week at Taylor's Post Grad Fellowship group, I had to make them.  The cream cheese icing was calling my name.

I immediately found the recipe on, bought all of the necessary ingredients, and decided that I would make them to take on our FI training in the Lake District.  We had to bring Seth with us, so I thought that bringing a yummy pumpkin dessert would A) show the uninitiated Brits that pumpkin was not only edible, but enjoyable and B) make up for all of the disruptions Seth would inevitably make during the training.

Well I don't know if you remember my post about my ornery oven, but unfortunately it got the best of me again. The first night of training, I went to cut the bars, only to discover a disappointingly mushy bottom layer.  I am a germ freak and figured something that had raw eggs in it that had been unrefrigerated for hours belonged in the trash, but it was getting late so naturally, we left it at the foot of the bed.


Pumpkin Bars
In the middle of the night, Taylor went to check on Seth and forgot about the pumpkin bars.  After this it was dubbed Pumpkin Foot Cake.

Our last morning of training, he finally went to dump it in the kitchen trash.  Problem.  He was accosted by the lady that had been in charge of the food.  Even after Taylor tried to explain why it was no good, she was not persuaded and proceeded to put it in the oven (icing and all).  She had been a missionary in Uganda and couldn't bear to see it go to waste.

Taylor did not tell me of Pumpkin Foot Cake's fate.

Around lunch time, I start to enjoy the smell of our meal being prepared while sitting in on my last training session.  Slowly I recognize a distinctly pumpkin smell.  To my horror, the reality of Brits and pumpkin hit me, and I shoot a look at Taylor across the room.  He is already looking in my direction and just smiles.

Our group draws to a close and someone comments on the yummy smells coming from the kitchen.  I mumble something unintelligible and frantically make my way to Taylor who is standing by the lunch lady.  She now has the cake on the counter to cool, the icing reminiscent of, well, not cream cheese.  Think crispy.  I plead with her to throw it away to no avail.

Lunch is served, but not after the announcement,

"Robin Ince made the dessert, so be sure to get some!"

I silently beg the floor to open up and swallow me.  People everywhere are walking back to their seats with the a piece of the unidentifiable pumpkin disaster.  As they see me, they smile and hold out their bowls to show me they are trying it.  British people are so polite in general, so of course almost everyone had some.  I try to spread the word that it was undercooked, and Taylor had stepped in it.  This was a little too late as most of them had already started digging in.  They start eating a little slower and some take on a shade of green until Taylor explains that it was covered in cling wrap, so his foot didn't actually touch it, just squished it.

Amazingly, I got tons of compliments and some people even went back for seconds.  By the end, it had all been consumed.

Formerly Pumpkin Foot Cake

They also complimented us on Seth's stellar behavior.

I would ask for some more pumpkin recipes for my last two cans, but I am hoarding them in case there is a pumpkin shortage next year!


Noelle said...

Wonderful story! If you are wondering what to do with your last two cans of pumpkin, go check out my website for a pumpkin cinnamon rolls. To die for!! Your Seth looks very much like Taylor!

Susan said...

If I had known that you had all that pumpkin, I would have sent you a couple of really pumpkinlicious recipes. Remind me to get them to you for next year! I have not laughed this hard in a long time...and believe me, I needed to! Thanks Robs!

WDP said...

You had me rolling. A series of unfortunate events that all ended well. I hope to see you, Tay Tay and the Sethster when you're all in Houston. April and I will be there Friday through Sunday. I love your blog. If you are looking to read something that is truly about nothing, check out my blog. willdsway@blogspot

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