You will notice this newsletter is later than the proposed Tuesday deadline and I have noticed that too, today is Thursday. When you look at your daily calendar though, if you scrunch your eyes up while looking at the word ‘Thursday’ it kind of looks similar enough to Tuesday, doesn’t it? They both start with a beautiful, lumbering capital ’T’ and end in the predictable formation of ‘d – a – y’ and whatever goes on between a ’T’ and a ‘day’ isn’t really any of our business. This newsletter was meant to address the relationship between North American’s and pumpkins but sort of lost its way in the middle and become about months instead. I would describe it as a real mess, I hope you enjoy it.
Exactly as I’ve been (privately) predicting through late August and most of September, we have arrived in October. Those closest to me will be able to verify my first public suspicions taking place as early as late July. With each passing year I study the calendar a little closer and grow more confident in my monthly forecasts. Even now (the 6th of October as I write) I am quite comfortable going on the record as saying November will be next. I’ve gamed the system to realise it almost runs like clockwork. Ageing has its perks.
I, for one, am pleased to be in October. On its own I’ve never found October to be anything special but when you slot it in (as usually happens) right after September it comes out looking like the people’s champion. September is a right little flirt. Every year it rolls around with the tantalising prospect of spring, exposed legs and the first swim of the season, enough to make even the staunchest winter enthusiast weak at the knees. But the promise and excitement soon fades as you remember why you and September only ever hang out for thirty days on the year. September is a pathological liar who promises everything and delivers nothing. For every morning September promises vistas of lambs orgasming daffodils it delivers a swallow drowning in a very deep gutter puddle.
We needn’t linger on that now though, for here we are in October. The transition to October signals many things to many people. For me, a long isolated period wherein I will start workshopping predictions for the names of months and dates of years to follow. For others, perhaps a birthday, a big work presentation, or a pair of shorts you haven’t felt on flesh since April. North American folk strap on a pair of trousers and grab the nearest pumpkin. October is pumpkin time and the North American people treat their pumpkins different from how we do things down here in Godzone.
What we like to do with our pumpkins down here is fairly standard behaviour. We buy the pumpkin, we peel the pumpkin and we roast the pumpkin. Some of us boil it into a soup, some friends of mine have even experimented with pumpkin in a frying pan. All pretty bog standard pumpkin behaviour. In North America however, things around this time of year are very different. It somehow slips all of their collective minds that pumpkin is predominantly an eating food. An entire continent of people who spend the rest of the year fully aware of the nutritional value of the pumpkin, collectively forget it’s primary purpose and start decorating with it. The reason for this, I imagine, is once they notice the flowers starting to die and the leaves start to fall from the trees, mass hysteria sets in and they start decorating with whatever is handy. They have even invented an entire holiday called ‘Halloween’ to try and disguise this continent-wide eccentricity. And where do you think they buy these decorative pumpkins? Because I’ll give you a clue, it isn’t a speciality decorative pumpkin shop, no sir. It isn’t a store that exclusively sells pumpkins for decorating. You buy your decorating pumpkins the same place you buy your eating pumpkins, the supermarket.
Pumpkin, to me, has always been an eating food. Not raw, don’t treat a pumpkin like an apple, that would be both a dental and ergonomic challenge. If you are set on eating a pumpkin, which it sounds like you are, there are many ways to go about it (please refer to earlier passages of the newsletter for tips). And in defence of North America, not everyone becomes obsessed with decorative pumpkins at this time of year. A different faction of these people like to use at as a ’spice’ for a latte. Grinding a pumpkin down to spice is a ludicrous amount of trouble to go to for a bit of flavour. Just use cinnamon or a more readily available and ground spice. Pumpkin isn’t even recognised as a spice. Not by the Board of Spices, not by Julia Childs and not even by my dear mother Charlotte. They all file it under ‘vegetable’. In addition to this, grinding a pumpkin down to spice is not a fun job, it is tough and laborious work. In saying that, it is the backbone of the economy through the midwest of America right now so pumpkin grinding is good in that regard. I am all for bringing jobs to the midwest and hope to run for mayor of Texas one day on that slogan alone. I imagine that it will do as well as I have done at being Mayor of the Newsletter this week (not good).