This is Thanksgiving week in America, but in Ireland, of course, it's just another week leading up to Christmas. Some people in America in the past have asked me if they have Thanksgiving in Ireland, and before that, when I lived in England for a while, they asked me if they had it there. "Um, no," is the answer I give. "No pilgrims made it to Ireland and were helped by the Indians and gave thanks on their first harvest."
This week is also my husband's birthday. Since my friend had given us a pumpkin from her own garden several weeks earlier I decided to celebrate his birthday (on Thanksgiving) with a traditional Thanksgiving treat-- pumpkin pie. Now I haven't made a pumpkin pie FROM SCRATCH since 1980 when I was in England and had the harebrained idea I would throw a thanksgiving dinner in Cornwall for my husband's family (newlyweds- such enthusiasm). Most Americans (unless you are Martha Stewart) either buy the pumpkin pie filling and shell or buy the whole pie.
Cutting the pumpkin: Take junior hacksaw give to husband and let him at it. Then: thank god for a pressure cooker. Looked in my grandmother's cookbook c. 1906 (nothing in modern ones) and see that you cook it for hours and hours on the cooker/stove. They tell you to just use half the pumpkin and "dry" the other half??? chop, chop and into the freezer for my half. Hand over to husband. Wizzbang pureed in pressure cooker and then little emmie. I make the bloody pastry. Not too bad with the pastry. Have frozen in the freezer, but did I remember to take it out? Noooo. Okay pastry made, tasted filling yum- lots of spice, just as I like it. Still have enough for TWO pies and FOUR ramekins (this is a small pumpking by American standards, too. )
Turns out bloody marvelous. I'm amazed. Second pie perfect for next day when my friends are giving a small lunch party for a friend's birthday. No one has had pumpkin pie and they are extremely skeptical that you can make anything sweet with pumpkin. Pumpkin soup is all they know. This includes my Dutch friend, my English friend who is hosting the little party and the few Irish friends. I even managed to get the librarian's husband to have a taste. "I'm not fond of pumpkin he says," when I tell him to try it. "No, it's a dessert. Very different."
"Delicious," he says to me later when he tastes it. But the Irish are so nice and kind. They wouldn't dream of the bluntness you might get in America. But still it makes me smile.
As for the book-- well things did happen. I got my photograph taken by the accomodating Catherine Ketch after patiently waiting all week for a glimpse of sunshine so I can have it taken outside with the harp. I've had my author biography page posted on www.KnoxRobinsonPublishing.com . Wow. How strange to see me on there (do I look like that now, sigh). Everyone on authonomy.com will know now why I had an image of one of my paintings as my avi and not one of me (that and the time to upload a photo). I've been working away on a marketing plan (compulsive administrator self leaps to the foreground).
Thanksgiving-- Yes I do have something amazing to be grateful for. Harvesting all my hard work. The book is due out June 2012.
Kristin Gleeson is a writer, artist and musician who lives in the west of Ireland in the Gaeltacht.
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