Sunday, November 16, 2014

They Don't Write Cookbooks The Way They Used To

Heirloom Pumpkin from Burpee's

"PUMPKIN SOUP.  Sometimes I feel that I am very old.  When I consider all the changes which have occurred over the long years since I was a child I feel like a stranger even in the Paris where I was born.

The din of the traffic has put the street songs to flight.  One is no longer woken  by the cry of the groundsel sellers.  The raucous song of the oyster  man no longer reminds one that it is Sunday, which must be celebrated round the family table with a feast of oysters.

The shops have changed too.  Only the windows of the butter, egg and cheese shops have kept their character, and on the pavement just beside the door one can still admire the giant pumpkin with gaping sides squatting on its wooden stool and seeming to say to passers-by, "Why not make some pumpkin soup?  And you will need some milk for it too.  Come inside and buy some."

Certainly in my young days there was no wooden stool.  The pumpkin was balanced on top of two other uncut pumpkins which were the rendes-vous of all the dogs in the neighborhood who stopped there...for a moment or two.  The stool is a triumph of modern hygiene.

If you are making pumpkin soup, buy a slice weighting about 1 lb.  You will need 1 1/2 pint of milk and 2 oz of rice as well.

Peel the pumpkin and cut the flesh into small pieces.  Put them into a saucepan with a tumblerfuil of water.  Boil for about 15 minutes, then mash the pumpkin to a purée.  Add the milk and bring it to the boil.  Now pour in the rice and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for 25 minutes.

At this moment the rice should be just cooked.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste adding, if you like it, a pinch of caster sugar.  I prefer a sprinkling of freshly-milled black pepper."

Cooking with Pomiane, by Edouard de Pomiane (sometime in the 1930's and translated/reprinted 1975).

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