Saturday, October 29, 2016

Never Give Up On Pumpkin

Things are different in Dublin. You don't find your every day things in their every day (Canadian) places. A bottle of regular ol' bleach takes an entire city hunt to find; forget about coffee creamer (I promise that one day I will get over this, but that day isn't anywhere near today) because here, it's completely unheard of; and don't even think about pizza yeast or pizza sauce because pizzas are always ready and waiting, everywhere you look, so people don't really make them from scratch. A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from Canada, I turned a blind eye to all of the above and, having to lose some weight in my suitcase (again with the unrealistic expectations ugh #fightback2016) I left behind a beautiful can of pureed pumpkin. I left it behind convinced that I'd find canned pumpkin in Dublin because duh it's fall and everyone loves pumpkin everything, but when I got to Dublin and asked around for it, I was given not only confused but disgusted looks. One store did have it, and that store sells imported American things that are sold at absolutely insane astronomical prices. I simply couldn't afford it. Well fine, I thought, I'll just outsmart them all and for my traditional pumpkin cream cheese roll, I'll use fresh pumpkin.   

Four hours later I had boiled, strained, peeled, mashed, blended, and sieved the equivalent of a cup of pumpkin for my recipe.  The cakey part came out looking like a grade five gym mat, but I still had high hopes. Then, using what I was sure was cream cheese (for lack of my trusted Philadelphia brand), I mixed the filling until the portal into hell opened wide and sucked all of my efforts straight in: the filling turned to  milky water. What. The. Eff.  Still, I persevered, knowing I had created something utterly, utterly wrong. I tilted the pumpkin roll and poured the filling in, sealed the ends, and let this bitch cool.  The next day, as predicted, the result was a texture akin to that of a prosthetic limb, and the unforgettable taste of tangy cheese by-product. It did photograph well, though, and looks almost like food in this picture:

Despite this picture's totally basic-able autumn Instagram win,  I refused to share it on social media, and instead, cried in the shower. Then I cried to Jeff about how everything fails here. Or, more like, how I fail at everything here. I decided that this year, I just had to accept that life will never be the same, and I shouldn't expect to succeed at things I have been making for goddamn years, and I need to just let it go and hope for the best around the Christmas season. After all, I could make a peppermint roll. A new tradition! I could sprinkle it with sadness. Delicious. Basically, I gave up. But Jeff didn't. He called a shop that used to sell pumpkin puree, found out when they would be re-stocking it, and put a can aside under his name. By then, days had gone by. When he found me again, I was under the couch, having grown a beard to my ass, and had forgotten the sound of my own name, bathing only in peril and defeat. Then, he gave me one of those talks where you huddle and then someone slaps you really hard and tells you to wake up. Except he didn't slap me obvi. That day, I found a pair of leggings on sale at Penneys for 3 Euro (say whaaa?). It was meant to be, so the minute I got home, I pulled them on...(and yes Jeff instantly left me)..

I looked a little harder, found Philadelphia cream cheese (!!!), picked up that can of pumpkin which they had actually received so much of that the store was practically bursting..

Just your homestyle pure de calabaza

...promised myself I would never cook with this "dupe" ...

Mixed all the ingredients together again, this time being so happy to see everything looking pumpkin-y instead of that weird pale beige situation from before..

Threw it all in the oven and crossed my fingers...and everything worked out!  

The pumpkin roll was as good as I remember it tasting every year, and was gobbled up in one day! Looks like this year, the real treat is the lesson of never giving up. Wow. 

Happy fall! Happy thanksgiving! Believe in your dreams!

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