Stem 790 xxx
photo by gluttonforlife

10.13.10 Pumpkinship

I was struck by how much this pumpkin stem reminded me of an umbilical cord. Which, in fact, it is. Through this ropey connection, now so beautifully gnarled and withered, the plant takes life from a root ball that is essentially the placenta. And the resulting pumpkin? A baby, of course! Chubby cheeked and ruddy, with sweet, tender flesh. The comparison goes South when you consider the tough exterior—this baby means business. Hardy enough to spend the cold months solo down in your root cellar (or most any consistently cool, dry place), pumpkins are a great sort of sustenance during the winter. They can go sweet or savory: custard, ice cream, quickbread, ravioli, risotto...they are endlessly adaptable. At a recent lunch, the discussion had already turned to Thanksgiving recipes, so I want to make sure you consider my favorite pumpkin custard with candied pumpkin seeds and gingered crème fraîche as a candidate for your holiday dessert. It's foolproof, can be made ahead, and I've never heard anyone complain about the lack of crust (usually sodden anyway).