Reclaiming the Pumpkin

It's that time of year again: The pumpkins are ripe for the picking, the carving, and the pie-filling.
Jen Villa

The typecast pumpkin has fallen victim to its own success, at least in Iowa. According to the Department of Revenue there, as of this year, pumpkins are decorations, so Iowans have to pay sales tax on this delicious and absolutely edible food. Scary indeed, say farmers and nutritionists. Pumpkin eaters can request a refund of the tax, though it is unclear if they have to include a recipe to prove intent to cook. Let this be your call to action, food activists: Grab your pumpkins and get cookin’! Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin waffles, and pumpkin curries are just a few ideas. Here’s a simple yet flashy recipe to serve at your pumpkin-tax protest, adapted from Mollie Katzen’s classic cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

The Pumpkin Tureen

A hearty pumpkin soup cooked and served in the pumpkin.

1 three- to four-pound pumpkin

1 Tbs. soft butter

1/4 c. finely minced onion

1 tsp. each prepared mustard and horseradish

1 13-oz. can low-fat evaporated milk

2 slices rye bread (with caraway seeds), cut into cubes

1/8 tsp. each salt, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg

1/2 c. (packed) grated Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hollow out the pumpkin, as if to make a Jack-O-Lantern (remember, the pumpkin will be the serving bowl). Save the seeds to toast separately-toasted seeds can be used to garnish the soup, or added to an accompanying salad.

Rub the inside of the cleaned pumpkin with the butter.

Put the remaining ingredients inside the pumpkin. Cover the opening with tinfoil, and then place the lid on top. Put the pumpkin on a tray and cook about 2 hours, or until the inside of the pumpkin is very soft when tested with a fork. Before serving, scoop up some of the cooked insides of the pumpkin and stir to mix with the other ingredients.


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