Pumpkins are quite possibly the most perfect real food item (I love chocolate but don't think of it as real food). They are very healthy, as pumpkin is an excellent source of beta-carotene, antioxidants and fiber. They are quite versatile - pumpkin can serve as an appetizer, salad, soup, main course and dessert ingredient and tastes delicious whether in a sweet or salty dish.
They are very appealing as decorative items - either brightening the entryway or as a centerpiece. They play a very important role in the most wonderful time of the year - it feels officially like autumn when the pumpkins come to market. And what would Halloween be without Jack-o-lanterns? One of my day-after-Thanksgiving rituals is to cut my decorative pumpkins in half and place them out in the woods for the wild critters and birds to feast on. Within the next month or so, they will be completely consumed, so they are also a good resource for wild life.
Today, like all Thanksgivings, I am not craving the turkey or fixin's. I start salivating for pumpkin pie. I plan my entire caloric intake on T-Day around the pie. I skimp on the potatoes and completely ignore the stuffing and rolls so as to leave ample room for the pie. I could care less about having leftovers of anything but the pumpkin pie - if there is a chance there won't be any, I have been known to bake an extra pie to enjoy over the days after T-day.
Speaking of pumpkin pie, I love it so much, it is my official birthday cake every year. But I don't just love pumpkin pie. I am an equal-opportunity pumpkin dessert lover. I make pumpkin goodies year round - pumpkin cake, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins. I just downloaded some additional recipes that I am going to try over the next few months.
Now, grab your barf bags and try to imagine these yummy desserts made with turkey instead. Not the same, is it?
As I was surfing the 'nets for all things pumpkin, it occurred to me that poor pumpkins are treated like second class citizens, especially at Thanksgiving. Turkeys are given superstar status, while the poor pumpkins are relegated to the sidelines.
For instance, how many pumpkins get the chance to get this up close and personal with the head Turkey every year? (Although on second thought,,, maybe that's a plus for the pumpkins).
Don't get me wrong. I like turkey just fine. Especially with mashed potatoes and gravy. But I don't find myself looking forward to Thanksgiving because of the turkey. To me, Thanksgiving means pumpkin-love!
All of this has gotten me to thinking....when you compare all of the benefits of pumpkins against the merits of turkey, pumpkins will win almost every time. Pumpkins are much cuter than turkeys:
Pumpkins come in a wider variety of shapes, color and size:
Whereas turkeys come in only 2 basic modes - light and dark:
Pumpkins are eaten by carnivores and vegetarians alike, which cannot be said for turkeys. Preparing pumpkins to be cooked is not nearly so messy as prepping a turkey (although you don't get leftover bones to make a delicious turkey gumbo the next day). And finally, knitters everywhere prefer pumpkins over turkeys, 3 to 1.
Don't believe me? Ravelry has 6 pages of knitted pumpkin patterns as compared to a paltry 2 for turkeys. So while it is clear that pumpkins are superior to turkeys in countless ways, I have to ask: Why do we have a national holiday for turkeys and not pumpkins? I would like to start a petition to make pumpkins the official mascot of Thanksgiving. Who's with me on this?