I think I was seven when I made roasted pumpkins seeds for the first time. My mom, sister, and I gutted the orange gourds, rinsed the stringy flesh from the seeds, and placed the little teardrops onto a baking dish. After the oven timer beeped we sprinkled the toasty snack with salt and ate until with couldn’t eat any more.
Fall always brings me back to that memory and I’m sure it has everything to do with the abundance of pumpkin-flavored everything. There’s just something about pumpkins that changes the atmosphere of an entire season. Perhaps it’s the flavor: for three months of every year it is perfectly acceptable to get a double dose of pumpkin for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. But apples are also in season so maybe it’s more than a taste thing. Perhaps we love pumpkins more for the ideas they bring to the table and what the lumpy orange vegetable means to us.
Starting in October, the leaves change color, the day get a little colder, and children are packing soup for lunch while college kids stop ordering iced coffee. You know things are changing when a double dose of pumpkin is acceptable for both breakfast and dessert. The world is this little shift just as summer wears off and with that exciting promise of change comes the pumpkins.
That being said, the one thing we can always count on during the calm before the holiday storm is pumpkin. You can eat your feelings in muffins or carve away stress during Halloween, but those persistent pumpkins will always stick around.
The holidays hit us hard during November and even harder in December. It seems there’s barely time for anything while you’re rushing around. There are too many people to see and places to go but at the end of the day you’re surrounded with the people that matter–the people that make you feel as happy and content as warm pumpkin scones on a cold morning. And after you’re stuffed full of turkey or chicken or latkes, there’s always room for dessert.
Whether you enjoy the pumpkin flavor or not, pumpkins appear just in time to remind us of the things that matter. It can be as simple as making pumpkin soup for a sick friend or as silly as sticking your dog in a pumpkin suit. We get so caught up life that sometimes we forget the little things, like seeing the largest pumpkin at a county fair with friends, are the things that truly matter. There’s nothing like a family tradition of cheap pumpkin pie with whipped cream to make you feel more full than any meal every could.
Pumpkins are that little slice of calm that brings us together in a hectic world. Whether we notice it or not, pumpkins are more to us than just a tasty seasonal treat. Change, consistency, the holidays, and togetherness go together like pumpkins in fall. You can’t have one without the other and I wouldn’t want it any other way.