Pumpkin season

  • Thursday, October 18, 2012

Whenever I see fall arrangements chock full of pumpkins– indoors or out – both my mind and my mouth begin to conjure up nostalgia. I think of my mother and one of her favorite poets and I think of one of my all time favorite flavors. Mom used to read me James Whitcomb Riley’s children’s works and those he wrote for adults for which he was known as The Hoosier Poet. We both loved “When the Frost is on the Punkin,” and she read it to me until I was able to negotiate his dialectical wording myself. He was a mid westerner, as was she, and we both appreciated Riley’s style. I always thought he was a kind of Dr. Seuss for adults the way he manipulated words you never heard of before but because of his ingenious pictorial presentation, knew exactly what they meant. Such as:
          “When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
          And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
          And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
          And the rooster’s hallylooyer as his tiptoes on the fence;”
          So this was my mind set when Terri Killiri asked me if I liked pumpkin pie. Terri, who has flair with hair as well as with food, was coaxing my tresses into a more fetching form when she set my taste buds alight. “Like it?” I replied, “it’s one of my favorites. And at this time of year I can also get pumpkin muffins and pumpkin ice cream!”
“Then you’re going to like this Pumpkin Dip I just tried. It was a big hit at a family party and everybody just loved it,” she told me. Plus it was perfect seasonal timing to get me thinking again of some of Riley’s words in his ode to autumn:
          “But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
          Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
          Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock –
          When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”
          “Bring on the recipe,” I told Terri, “it sounds perfect for kids of all ages (including me). Her daughter-in-law got this off the internet and knowing Terri, I’ll bet she “nudged it” a bit. But that’s fine with me as she’s a wonderful cook.
Pumpkin Dip
          1 8 ounce package cream cheese
          2 cups confectioners’ sugar
          1 cup canned pumpkin
          ½ cup sour cream
          1 teaspoon cinnamon
          1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
          ½ teaspoon ginger
          Mix ingredients together and chill thoroughly. Serve with graham crackers or ginger snaps. I found some cinnamon flavored tiny Teddy Grahams which the young (at heart) will enjoy scooping into this luscious concoction.
.         While my family is imbibing in this feast for the tongue, I’ll be savoring the mental banquet, remembering the last lines of that poem:
          “I don’t know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
          As the angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me –
          I’d want to ‘commodate ‘em – all the whole-induring’ flock –
          When frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”

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