Well, it’s been a very slow start to what I thought would be a fun, energetic, and productive five-day “weekend”. Michael slept til Noon, and I started the morning with a migraine, so … yes. Slow. I still haven’t cleaned my bathrooms, and I made a frozen pizza for dinner. But, hey! It was a three-cheese spinach pizza, and I added salami, and it was really quite tasty.
Despite the slow start, I’m consoled that I still have four days to make up the difference and get to work on my long list of projects that I’d planned for this time. As usual, I planned way too much for the available amount of time, but I’ll give it my best effort … starting tomorrow.
It’s been a lovely fall so far. I’ve made a few things with apples, and a friend is going to teach me on Monday how to make her dad’s amazingly delicious apple strudel. I can’t wait! I’ve also picked up a couple Hokkaido squashes to use as pumpkin substitute in some pumpkin swirl bread, pumpkin soup, and, in a few weeks, pumpkin pie!
Regular pumpkins are available here at this time of year, but they’re just the big kind. There are no sugar pumpkins, which are supposedly the preferred kind for baking. However, the Hokkaido is a great substitute. It’s sweet and creamy and made an amazing pumpkin pie last year — possibly the best one I’ve had. That could also have something to do with the fact that I made my own evaporated milk from organic, whole milk as well. At that point, everything was still so new that I didn’t know if I could even find evaporated milk in the stores here, much less what it was called or in which area of the store I could find it. Anyways, the homemade substitute was well worth it and quite easy to make, not to mention delicious.
We went to a pumpkin festival last weekend, actually. It was huge! I had no idea it would be so big. I was expecting a small fair-type of event, and we got there and there were thousands of squashes, big squash sculptures, squash food, and squashes for sale all over the grounds of this lovely, historic palace in Ludwigsburg.
Aren’t the flowers so lovely? I had wanted to go in the spring or summer for the flowers, but they still had many, many beautiful varieties in the front gardens despite the late season. It was surprising to this Midwestern-USA raised girl, as it was mid-October when we went. Actually, just north of my hometown back in the States, it apparently already snowed yesterday or today. So you can bet they don’t have any summer flowers still. I’m glad that wasn’t us!
The pumpkin festival is really a festival of squash of all varieties; however, as in many other lands and languages, there’s no special distinction between the pumpkin of the US and all other squash. As an American, it’s a bit of a weird feeling to me to not have a word to be able to use that easily distinguishes my culturally-revered pumpkin from all other plebeian squash. A pumpkin is a pumpkin, and squash is everything else, and they each have their own names. Here, a pumpkin may be found under the title “Halloween Pumpkin”. Yes, very American. But Halloween is truly an American thing, and it’s only in more recent years that it has spread it’s corrupting influence to further reaches of the world, such as Germany.
But no matter what you use your pumpkins for, either carving or baking, it would be hard to make a case for an American without an innate association with the pumpkin.
These are some of the largest squashes in Germany. As the weather had gotten warm and sunny for a number of days, the squashes on display had started to rot, so the actual winner of the competition was replaced by a similarly gigantic gourd. That would be the center squash. There was a nice sign explaining this, though the 900+ kilo winner was sadly gone.
Those squashes on the right are a variety of Hokkaido, I believe. Those are delicious! And you can even eat the skin on them, unlike other hard squashes.
We’ve been having some fun recently, and I hope to share about some more of those things over the next week.
We’ve got a colorful view of the vineyards and city these days, and we even have some sun once in a while, though mostly it’s cloudy and rains fairly often.
But I love our treetop view of our city, the hills, the colored leaves, and the full path of the sun as it rises and sets.
How can I not, when I look out at this beauty every day, be reminded in all situations to be thankful. And thankfulness for one thing leads to another and another and another, and I realize there are so many things to be thankful for that I couldn’t list them all.
Until next time! Love from Germany,