Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm scared I'm going to turn orange.

I've got a big backlog of blog posts, so you'll have to bear with me. (And, in my continued procrastination, I just googled the etymology of that phrase. It comes from either a request for forbearance or bearing a burden together. And now I've put off writing for another 10 minutes.)

Three Sundays ago, several of us set off by train to the lovely medieval town of Venzone for the annual Festa della Zucca, the Festival of the Pumpkin. We explored the entirety of the little town while enjoying a whole range of pumpkin themed foods. These included pumpkin pastries and the absolutely delicious pumpkin pizza. The pumpkin gelato was sold out by the time our group got there. I also found the first type of wine that I actually liked! Unfortunately, it's pumpkin wine, which is kinda seasonal and pretty obscure anyway.

This was only the beginning of my pumpkin-filled week. The school PTA bought every class a pumpkin for Halloween, but most classes didn't have time to do much with them. I volunteered to carve ours, so that we would have a Jack-o-Lantern for the school Halloween party on Friday. I had a fun planning period with pumpkin guts up to my elbows and carved both a face and the number 3. By lunchtime, I also had 345 pumpkin seeds! (Yes, I counted. The kids estimated, so I needed to know the actual number.)

After lunch, both the fifth grade teacher and one of the fourth grade teachers had spotted the pumpkins and requested that I do theirs as well. Another face and the number 5 made me only a few minutes late for Italian class, and more than doubled my stash of seeds. That night, I added some oil and salt and roasted them. Once they were done, I had enough to fill a recycled spaghetti sauce jar! Interestingly, the fourth and fifth grade pumpkins were two different types. Though they looked the same from the outside, the insides were completely different.

Friday morning, the other fourth grade teacher mentioned that her pumpkin need carved as well, bringing the week's total to four, and well over 1000 seeds, which I kept as payment for the carving. After 5 batches of salted seeds, I started to get bored, so I also made a spicy version and my personal favorite, caramelized seeds. Yum!

Friday's lunch at school was Halloween themed, with pumpkin rice, pumpkin chicken, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin bread. I chose the chicken and bread, both of which were quite good.

It was all delicious, but I still don't think I will eat much more pumpkin soon, at least for a few weeks...

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