03 October 2011

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

If you didn't see it in my last post, I have promised to post October-y, Halloween-y, Autumn-y goodness here at Make of Myself at least twice a week for the entire month. Mondays and Fridays you'll get themed posts with other posts on Wednesdays. This week, our topic is (of course) PUMPKINS!

If there is one thing that starts to magically appear in stores in large quantities as of September 1st every year, it's pumpkins. Real pumpkin, plastic jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin paper plates - you name it, we got it! By why the pumpkin you ask?

Originally, it wasn't the pumpkin. In the Celtic cultures (as Scottish, Irish and Welsh cultures tend to be invariably denoted), it was turnips. Just think it we all tried to empty and carve turnips every year! They're so small and it would be hard to fit a candle in one. The pumpkin didn't have its Halloween hay day until Halloween became popular in the Americas - where pumpkins are plentiful.

The story of the jack-o-lantern comes from an Irish tale of Jack the blacksmith who made a deal with the Devil and was therefore denied entry into heaven. Since he was doomed to walk the earth, he asked the Devil for some light. The Devil gave him a burning ember which he placed in a turnip with the center gouged out. The Irish would hang lanterns and carved turnips in hopes of keeping the damned, wandering soul from coming near their homes. When the traditions of Halloween made their way across the pond, pumpkins were more common than turnips (and, I imagine, easier to carve due to their size).

Last year the world's largest (and by largest I mean heaviest) pumpkin record was set anew. The 2009 record setter was a 1.725 pound pumpkin. In 2010, a man from Wisconsin broke that record with a 1,810 and a half pound pumpkin! That's a lot of pumpkin.

Of course, ever fall between October 1st and Thanksgiving, the most classic dessert on the menu is Pumpkin Pie. Today I'm linking you up with Food Network Paula Deen's recipe here. I picked this particular recipe for two reasons: 1) Paula uses mashed canned pumpkin (and canned in my house means something you do to preserve food, not something you by from the store) and 2) because Paula Deen has broken a personal record by only requiring a mere half stick of butter in this recipe (an all time low!). If you're a pumpkin pie fan (sadly, I'm not), then try this out and comment to tell me how it was.

The last pumpkin-y topic on our list for the day, but certainly not the least is The Great Pumpkin. Charles Schulz first wrote Linus van Pelt talking about The Great Pumpkin in 1959, through he has (not) appeared many times since. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown first appeared in 1966. Every since then we've all been waiting most sincerely with Linus for The Great Pumpkin to appear. He is reputed to only appear in very sincere pumpkin patches to give gifts to good boys and girls. He is not to be confused with Santa Claus, whose job it is to bring gifts to children; The Great Pumpkin has a moral obligation to fulfill in his gift delivering (or so Linus explained to Lucy in 1960). Sadly, The Great Pumpkin has yet to appear for Linus van Pelt, but he still faithfully awaits.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm looking forward to waiting for The Great Pumpkin with Linus this year by enjoying all of the pumpkin paraphernalia!

What pumpkin-y things have you picked up?


Anonymous said...

I love The Great Pumpkin! I remember doing research on this very topic for a speech in college. Glad it looks like I got my facts straight.

Erica M said...

I'm always envious of these informative, prosey posts of yours. Glad to see you blogging again!

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

I actually did buy a pumpkin this year to puree on my own instead of using the canned stuff. I've never tried anything like that and I'm excited!

Carina said...

@mamamash - I'm glad you could have a flashback to a good time.

@Erica - Good to know... it can be nice to be envied.

@Rach - You'll have to comment back and let me know how it goes. I'm sure it'll taste great after all the hard work!

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